Clare Daly alleges Garda embezzlement case not investigated
Independent TD also claims another whistleblower ‘isolated and vulnerable’
Clare Daly: she told the Dáil that she had dealt with a case involving two individuals in Galway who were involved in a property deal in Romania with two gardaí. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Independent TD Clare Daly has alleged that a complaint to the Garda of alleged embezzlement by two members of the force has not been investigated. The Dublin North TD made the claim during a Dáil debate on legislation to increase the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the complaints board for the force.
Ms Daly told the Dáil that this week she dealt with a case involving two individuals in Galway who were involved in a property deal in Romania with two gardaí. “According to the individuals in question, the gardaí in question embezzled funds of approximately €500,000” she said, speaking under privilege in the House.
“They reported the crime to the immediate superior of the gardaí, the then Chief Superintendent Ó Cualáin, who has since been promoted to the position of acting deputy commissioner.”
Ms Daly said the individuals “had information to show that Garda fax machines were used in certain transactions. The chief superintendent indicated the complaint would be investigated but was subsequently moved to another area.” She said “when another chief superintendent was appointed, the individuals in question chased up the case but did not get anywhere” and their complaint “was not listened to”.
They then complained to the GSOC but the commission “decided it could not deal with the case because it was four years old”.
Ms Daly had called on Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to accept an change to the Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No 3) Bill to allow up to two years for a complaint to be made to the commission. Ms Fitzgerald had extended the time period for complaints from six months to a year.
Ms Fitzgerald said she believed doubling the time period from six to 12 months “was the best approach at this point” and extending it to two years “would give rise to another tier of complaints”.
She added that if a case was taken outside the time limit, “it is not required to refuse to investigate it and may decide the case is sufficiently serious to warrant” investigation.
She also warned TDs they should not “endlessly repeat the claims that members of the public do not have confidence in” the GSOC. She fully accepted there were cases people were not satisfied with or that they had other points to make or “believe their case may warrant further investigation”.
Later in the debate, Ms Daly also alleged that a Garda whistleblower had been out of work for 10 months. Before Christmas, “he and his partner had to take an injunction against An Garda Síochána to stop it from holding an internal investigation into a spurious non-complaint, allegedly made by his partner against him”.
She added: “The man is living with this. He went to GSOC and the commission took his complaints seriously but he has been left isolated and vulnerable.” He was not on his own, she also said. “Others are in the same position in respect of investigations going on for months.”
The Bill was passed in the Dáil by 63 votes to 37.