Inquiry begins as garda accused of acting as security consultant

Allegations of inspector doing work at Coolmore Stud surfaced in 2016 and again in 2017

Allegations that the garda inspector was doing security work for Coolmore Stud in Co Tipperary first surfaced in 2016 and then again in 2017. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Allegations that the garda inspector was doing security work for Coolmore Stud in Co Tipperary first surfaced in 2016 and then again in 2017. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

An internal garda inquiry has been launched into the activities of a garda inspector who is accused of acting as a security consultant for Coolmore Stud in Tipperary in his spare time.

The garda also holds a senior role in the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors which represents the interests of middle ranking members and is due to begin its annual conference on Monday.

Earlier this year officers from the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) began inquiring into allegations the inspector received payment from Coolmore, one of the most famous studs in the world, in return for consultancy services on its security arrangements.

The inquiry is at an early stage and the allegations are as yet unproven.

Under the Garda Code, members are strictly forbidden from taking secondary employment in a wide range of jobs including in the security industry.

Allegations that the garda was doing security work for Coolmore first surfaced in 2016 and then again in 2017. It is alleged that on two occasions he was testing security procedures at the stud, including how long it would take gardaí in nearby Clonmel to respond to an incident there.

Security alerts were allegedly sent to Clonmel Garda Station causing gardaí to speed to the location using their lights and sirens.

False alarms

Coolmore, which is owned and run by the Magnier family, contains some of the most valuable thoroughbred racehorses in the world and is guarded by an extensive security operation.

There are two entries concerning false alarms at the stud on the Garda Pulse system. The incidents have also been the subject of the protected disclosure by a colleague of the inspector.

If proven, the allegations of working as a security consultant would not constitute a criminal offence but could lead to the garda’s dismissal.

The NBCI inquiry is understood to be at an early stage but officers have already begun taking statements from gardaí involved, including from those who responded to the alarms and the local superintendent.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is understood to be aware of the allegations. The commissioner’s short time in the role has been characterised by a renewed focus on discipline as he attempts to improve the force’s reputation following a series of controversies.

Members of the AGSI National Executive were informed of the allegations this week. It is understood the question of the inspector’s continued role in the organisation has caused some division among senior members.

The garda involved told The Irish Times on Friday he was not aware of any NBCI investigation, and declined to comment further.

AGSI president Cormac Moylan declined to comment, as did a Garda spokesman. Coolmore Stud also declined to comment when asked about the inspector’s alleged work for them.