Suspended Garda officer set to retire in coming months
Only in cases where charge being pursued would process continue after retirement
The vast majority of investigations conducted by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission into members of the force must cease if the Garda member under investigation resigns or retires. Photograph: Frank Miller
A Garda officer suspended this week as an investigation into allegations against him continues is due to retire in coming months.
Informed sources said it was “highly unlikely” the inquiry being carried out by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) would be concluded before he retired.
The vast majority of investigations conducted by Gsoc into members of the force must cease if the Garda member under investigation resigns or retires.
Only in cases where a criminal charge was being pursued would the process continue after a Garda member had retired.
While serious allegations have been made against the officer in question, no adverse finding has been arrived at. Indeed, the allegations made against him have not been properly tested yet.
According to sources, a lengthy Gsoc investigation would be required before the watchdog could make any findings in the case.
However, the officer under investigation is due to retire on age grounds within months.
When Garda members are under investigation, they can still apply to retire. However, the Garda commissioner of the day can refuse their application on the grounds they are being investigated.
But if a Garda member under investigation reaches the maximum retirement age, there is no scope to refuse the retirement.
The officer now under investigation by Gsoc and who was suspended on Thursday already has more than 30 years’ service completed.
That means he can retire at any time on full pension. He can also continue working until his birthday in the coming months, at which point he must retire on age grounds.
A number of Garda members who know the officer believe he will not retire early. They expect him to fight to protect his reputation and his record in the force, including initiating legal actions in the courts if required.
Some of the allegations made against him could be treated as corruption in public office criminal offences if evidence to support the claims was uncovered. Under those circumstances, Gsoc’s inquiry into the officer could continue after his retirement.
However, informed sources said the officer’s suspension was without prejudice.
The same sources added the investigation into the allegations was only beginning and it was impossible to determine the length or outcome of the process.
The investigation into the officer began late last year after a rank and file Garda member made a protected disclosure to Gsoc.
Just before Christmas, Gsoc informed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris it had initiated the investigation into the officer.
News of the investigation emerged in The Irish Times on Wednesday and the officer was suspended the following day.
The garda who has made the complaints has objected to the manner in which he was suspended from duty for a period. He has previously objected to the manner in which he was interviewed for a promotion.
However, sources said the officer is expected to deny any wrongdoing in relation to the garda’s allegations about him.