Policing Authority ‘ratted out’ civilian analysts over Garda statistics - Daly
Tánaiste says evidence of women at Justice committee ’very concerning’
Speaking in the Dáil, Independents4Change TD Clare Daly accused the Policing Authority of “ratting out” Garda civilian analysts Lois West and Laura Gilligan.
The Policing Authority has been accused of “ratting out” two civilian analysts who raised concerns about investigations into misclassified homicides.
Independents4Change TD Clare Daly said the authority knew about the issue a year ago, and “not only did they not respond to them but they went back to the bosses and ratted them out”.
On Wednesday, Garda civilian analysts Lois West and Laura Galligan told the Oireachtas justice committee they were belittled and had their credibility attacked by senior Garda management when they raised concerns about whether adequate investigations were carried out into homicides they found to be incorrectly classified.
Ms Daly claimed the authority promoted an individual to head of Garda training at Templemore college who was the subject of an internal bullying and harassment investigation against the whistleblowers.
She said the Government was praising the authority when it was now part of the problem. “How many more Garda scandals is your Government prepared to take before you hold somebody to account,” she asked Tánaiste Simon Coveney.
She said it was “irrefutable now that senior gardaí lied and misled the Policing Authority at its May and June meetings.
“Can you imagine the chilling effect on these two powerful women? They read in the media about a Policing Authority that’s there for oversight. They go with their genuine problems. They try and make their case and they don’t get heard.
“Not only that but the people who they go to tell their bosses.”
Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the reward for the two women for telling the truth and raising concerns was to have their professionalism and integrity questioned.
Both TDs highlighted the analysts’ concerns that in cases of men with a history of domestic violence entered into new relationships, the risks to their new partners would be missed if their previous crimes were not properly recorded.
Mr McGrath said concerns about Garda crime statistics were not new, particularly around domestic violence and it was almost two years since concerns about the statistics had been raised and the Central Statistics Office would not publish the crime figures.
Mr Coveney said serious issues were raised at the Oireachtas committee meeting. The department and Minister would fully investigate any allegations that were made.
He said the evidence was “very concerning”. It was to be welcomed and the Department of Justice needed to follow it up with An Garda Síochána.
He pointed out that the Minister for Justice heard this evidence on Wednesday for the first time.
“It is totally unacceptable if people are raising issues in relation to the misclassification and if they were being persuaded in any way not to expose that,” he added.
But the Tánaiste stressed that “we need to act on the basis of facts and evidence”.