Whistleblower named in claims about Garda drugs coercion to boost crime figures

Garda taking ‘grave risk’ in going public with allegations, Dáil told

Luke Ming Flanagan: Said garda Nick Keogh was taking a grave risk by going public. Photograph: David Sleator

Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan has named a new Garda whistleblower who contacted the interim confidential recipient about “grave allegations” of Garda misconduct.

He claimed in the Dáil that senior gardaí induced young people to sell drugs to undercover officers in an effort to boost crime detection figures.

Mr Flanagan said serving garda Nick Keogh, based in Athlone, gave information yesterday to interim confidential recipient retired judge Patrick McMahon and was taking a "grave risk" by going public.

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said he was forced to go public because in his station he was being referred to as a whistleblower or "snitch".


Accused threatened
Mr Flanagan cited a number of "grave allegations" made by the garda including the cover-up of the original file of an incident, where the file was stolen and the incident removed from the Garda Pulse computer system. New statements were created for Pulse and an accused was threatened by a garda to plead guilty to an offence, he said.

His greatest concern was a drugs operation in November 2009 when there was a “systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking officers to induce and coerce Irish citizens, in this case with no previous criminal convictions, to buy drugs from dealers and in doing so putting them in personal danger. And in turn to sell drugs to undercover gardaí without making any profit, thus boosting crime detection figures for arrests”.

Mr Flanagan said that a “grave aspect” of the operation, was that a significant drug dealer in the area – “long associated with a senior member of the drugs unit” - was not targeted.

He asked Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, who was taking leaders’ questions. “What are you going to do to reassure this person that he won’t be bullied, he won’t have a rat hung on his door?”

Mr Quinn replied that the Labour Party and the Government were committed to having a proper Ombudsman for the gardaí, complaints procedure and authority, so that the incidents Mr Flanagan was talking about would not recur.

The Minister said he shared the TD’s concerns and the Government would put in place a Garda authority and protection for whistleblowers in the next two years.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times