Inquiry launched into claim gardaí worked with dealer


THE GARDA Síochána Ombudsman Commission has decided to open a formal inquiry into allegations that gardaí worked with a convicted drug dealer in allowing the distribution of drugs which were later seized by the same officers.

The investigation will examine why the State dropped criminal charges against Kieran Boylan, the drug dealer at the centre of the case. Those charges related to a €1.7 million drugs find.

The ombudsman yesterday said it was opening the inquiry "in the public interest".

The move follows media coverage of the case and comes after Opposition TDs raised the matter with Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.

The Irish Timesunderstands Mr Ahern received a preliminary report on the case from Garda headquarters. He passed the report on to the ombudsman. The decision to open the inquiry was taken after the report was reviewed. Sources say that the inquiry is expected to be "very lengthy and very comprehensive".

Some of the reforms put in place after the Morris tribunal around the handling of informers are likely to be put under close scrutiny. The workings of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will also be examined.

At the end of July the State entered a nolle prosequi in the case against Boylan, a 37-year-old from Rockfield Park, Ardee, Co Louth. The dropped charges related to the seizure of €1.7 million of cocaine and heroin in October 2005.

It has been alleged in some reports that Boylan told arresting gardaí he was working for members of the force. The ombudsman will now examine the nature of Boylan's relationship, if any, with some gardaí. It will examine whether he was distributing drugs in the knowledge of gardaí while they used him as an informer. It is alleged that he led gardaí to find drugs hauls after he had passed those drugs to other dealers.

The inquiry will examine whether Boylan's contact with gardaí was linked to the drugs charges against him being dropped. The ombudsman will examine how the DPP reached the decision to withdraw the charges. The inquiry will examine claims by a Louth couple that they were threatened after making a confidential report to gardaí about drugs they believed were linked to Boylan.

The case will also focus on whether Boylan was a registered Garda informer. Both the registering of informers and the logging of contact with them was a key reform introduced following the Morris tribunal.

Part of the corruption exposed in the Donegal division involved two gardaí pretending they had an IRA informer who gave them information about bombs that the officers themselves had planted.

Boylan has a drug conviction in England, where he was jailed for 7½ years for possession of cannabis resin in 1997. In 2003 he was caught with cocaine and heroin valued at €750,000 in Dublin Port. He pleaded guilty.