The reports

 

A summary of findings

REPORT 1

Related to allegations that gardaí planted explosives.

It concluded:

(1)Using bogus IRA informers, Supt Kevin Lennon and Det Garda Noel McMahon orchestrated hoax Donegal explosive finds to boost their careers, and offered "a tissue of lies" to the tribunal.

(2)Senior gardaí who served in Donegal in 1993 and 1994 were negligent in failing to uncover the plot organised by the two.

(3)Many gardaí lied to the Tribunal or covered up for corrupt colleagues.

(4)Many members of the force were unwilling to respond to questions about their actions and inactions when asked to do so by a senior officer.

The tribunal found this "unacceptable".

(5)The Garda Representative Association had not encouraged its members to be totally honest at the tribunal.

(7)A more transparent promotions regime was needed.

(8)An Garda Síochána was "losing its character as a disciplined force". The "erosion of discipline" would "lead to disaster".

(9)The flow of information between the Garda and Department of Justice went just one way; from Garda Headquarters to the department. The department and Minister were "obliged to take everything on trust".

(10) It was "all too easy" for Garda HQ and regional Assistant Commissioners, "to be hoodwinked and misled". They needed to take a more active role in operations in the regions.

REPORT 2

Related to the investigation of the death of Richie Barron.

It concluded:

(1)The Garda inquiry into Mr Barron's death was "prejudiced, tendentious and utterly negligent in the highest degree".

(2)Chief Supt Denis Fitzpatrick, Supt John Fitzgerald, Det Supt Joseph Shelley and Det Insp John McGinley all shared "in various degrees the burden of fault".

(3)On the night Mr Barron died, October 14th 1996, one on-duty garda, Pádraig Mulligan in Raphoe, was drinking in a pub, while others in Lifford refused to respond to the emergency call because they wanted to take their break.

(4)When gardaí finally got the scene where Mr Barron's remains were found they failed to preserve it for examination or take statements from witnesses.

(5)Some gardaí were "consumed" by the notion that Frank McBrearty jnr and his cousin Mark McConnell were guilty, although there had been no murder, and tried to frame the two innocent men.

(6)A "new means of removing gardaí from office should be considered".

Some gardaí "continue to serve, despite being the subject of severe criticism" in the tribunal's first report.

(7)The failure of gardaí to respond truthfully to questions from senior officers should be grounds for dismissal.

(8)A false statement placing Frank McBrearty jnr and Mark McConnell close to the scene of Mr Barron's death was coerced by gardaí from local man Robert Noel McBride.

(9)An attempt by a Garda informer was made to extort Michael and Charlotte Peoples, a couple who lived in Raphoe. Mr Peoples was told he would be placed at the scene of a row with Mr Barron unless money was paid.

One of the calls was made from the home of a garda.

REPORTS 3, 4 and 5

Related to the planting by gardaí of an explosive device and gun for the purposes of arresting innocent people.

They concluded:

(1) Det Sgt John White had planted a shotgun at a Travellers' camp in Burnfoot in May 1998 for the purposes of arresting seven people for questioning about the killing of pensioner Edward Fitzmaurice in his Mayo home two weeks earlier. The people arrested were completely innocent.

(2)Garda Pádraig Mulligan, Garda Martin Leonard and Sgt Jack Conaty tried to frame two innocent gardaí for planting the gun in an effort to provide a defence for Det Sgt White.

(3)An explosive device was caused to be put on a television mast in Ardara by Det Sgt White, with the intention of arresting people protesting against the mast's erection.

(4)There was a "small but disproportionately influential core of mischief-making [Garda] members who will not obey orders, who will not follow procedures, who will not tell the truth and who have no respect for their officers".

(5)The tribunal was "staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordination it has found in the Garda force" and recommended a new tougher code of discipline which could "swiftly dispose" of those gardaí who should be fired.

(6)There had been an abuse of search warrants issued under section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act. It recommended that the power to issue warrants should be removed from the Garda and given solely to a judge.

(7)Det Sgt White was found to have induced Raphoe man Bernard Conlon to be found after hours drinking on the premises of Frankie's nightclub, owned by the McBreartys, in Raphoe in August 1997. This was for the purposes of prosecuting Frank McBrearty snr.

(7)The tribunal could not accept the evidence of Raphoe man Bernard Conlon that Det Sgt White induced him to make up a story that two men, Mark McConnell and Michael Peoples, threatened him with a silver bullet.

REPORT 6

Dealt with the interrogation of suspects in Garda custody.

It concluded:

(1)The arrest of Frank McBrearty jnr on December 4th, 1996, on suspicion of the murder of Richie Barron was unlawful.

(2)The tribunal was satisfied that a confession extracted from Mr McBrearty jnr to the "murder" of Richie Barron was not obtained voluntarily.

(3)Without the benefit of Mr McBrearty jnr's assistance to the tribunal on the matter, it was impossible to conclude if the abuse caused him to "crumble" and make a false confession.

(4)There was no regulatory basis for the use by Sgt John White of a video camera to record the interviews with Mr McBrearty jnr. It also found that Sgt White had questioned Mr McBrearty in an "unwarranted and unprofessional" manner.

(5)Mr McBrearty jnr was a difficult witness and the tribunal did not accept his claims he was assaulted while in Garda custody.

(6)Garda strongly criticised for arresting Michael and Charlotte Peoples over the death of Richie Barron. It found Mr Peoples's account of his arrest to be substantially true, including allegations that he was threatened in detention.