Senior garda to inquire into law firm raid tip-off

 

A senior Garda officer has been appointed to investigate a tip-off to the media about a search of the offices of the solicitors acting for Mr John and Mrs Geraldine Gilligan. The Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, said the Garda Commissioner had appointed the officer because of his "very serious concern" about the court judgment which awarded Hanahoe solicitors £100,000 in damages.

He was responding to a question from Mr Jim Higgins, Fine Gael's justice spokesman, who asked if the Minister was establishing a formal inquiry. Mr Higgins said it was not the first time there had been such an incident.

A similar situation had arisen when an adviser to a former minister was arrested days before the presidential election "and quite obviously the media were tipped off in this case". He asked if there was an investigation into that situation after the leaking of Department of Foreign Affairs documents.

Operation Pineapple was the name given to the action by gardai to seek information relating to the property transactions of Mr and Mrs Gilligan, Mr Higgins said.

He asked whether any negotiations had taken place between the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Gilligans' legal representatives about a possible settlement in the unlawful seizure of their property.

Mr O'Donoghue said he could not discuss the operational matters of the Garda or the Criminal Assets Bureau.