Senior garda suspended pending ‘corruption in public office’ inquiry

Officer is being investigated on foot of a protected disclosure made late last year

 A frontline Garda member made the protected disclosure, which is currently being investigated by Gsoc. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A frontline Garda member made the protected disclosure, which is currently being investigated by Gsoc. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

A senior Garda officer has been suspended while allegations of corruption in public office made against him are investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc).

The officer was suspended at lunchtime on Thursday. He is the second member of the Garda’s senior management team to be suspended by the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.

The allegations against the senior Garda officer suspended on Thursday are serious because corruption in public office can result in criminal charges. However, at present the allegations are not proven and the officer has been suspended on a without-prejudice basis.

In reply to queries, Garda Headquarters confirmed an officer had been suspended but did not name him.

“A Garda officer, who is currently subject of an investigation, has been suspended from duty,” the reply stated.

“As this is an ongoing investigation, An Garda Síochána will not be making any further comment. An Garda Síochána will not be commenting on the identity of the member.”

Protected disclosure

News of the investigation into the senior officer first emerged in The Irish Times on Wednesday. The officer is being investigated on foot of a protected disclosure made late last year.

A frontline Garda member made the disclosure, which is currently being probed by Gsoc.

According to informed sources, Mr Harris has decided that, in the interests of the Garda force and all of those impacted by the inquiry, the officer against whom the allegations have been made should be suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Informed sources said he had been suspended on full pay. The same sources cautioned the inquiry under way within Gsoc would require some time before any of the allegations made were deemed proven or were dismissed.

The Garda member who made the protected disclosure late last year has already made an internal complaint about the way he was interviewed for a promotion within the force.

Reinstated

And he has also taken issue with the manner in which he was previously suspended from duty and then reinstated after a short period.

He believes due process was not followed and has insisted there were no grounds to suspend him.

Both the suspension of the officer on Thursday and that of John Barrett, the force’s director of human resources, last year pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary inquiry were decided by Mr Harris, who took over at the head of the force last September.

Mr Barrett, a civilian, is at the centre of an internal disciplinary process into the alleged nature of his communications with a colleague. He disputes the allegations.