Saturday 18 May 2019
Fred says Good Morning: Fred suggests you read and scroll
Number of controversies have rocked police service
The latest Garda corruption probe is one of a series to rock the force in recent years.
Last June, Garda Sergeant Jimell Henry was jailed for 18 months for relaying information from the Pulse system to a drugs gang in Sligo.
Judge Keenan Johnson said her behaviour was deplorable and put the lives of members of the public at risk.
In 2014 detectives in Sligo became concerned confidential information was being leaked to an organised crime group and was being used to target a rival gang.
An investigation discovered Henry was routinely accessing the Pulse system and disclosing information.
A court heard in one two-week period alone, she made 900 inquiries on Pulse.
Almost three-quarters of these related to Sligo, even though she was stationed in Dublin at the time.
She pleaded guilty to three charges of disclosing information obtained during the course of her duty, knowing that it was likely to have a harmful effect, and four counts of disclosing operational details without authority, in December 2014 and January 2015.
Meanwhile, the force has also been rocked by allegations a garda had a sexual relationship with a female drugs suspect and tipped her off about a search.
The allegations have been subject to an internal investigation and the garda at the centre of the claims was suspended.
The matter is set to feature at the Disclosures Tribunal, which is examining claims Garda Nick Keogh was harassed after blowing the whistle on his colleague’s alleged behaviour.
The Dáil has heard Gda Keogh has also alleged people with no previous criminal records were coerced into procuring drugs and selling them to undercover gardaí to boost detection rates.
Collusion between gardaí and criminals is not a new phenomenon.
In the 1990s a rogue garda was convicted for taking bribes from members of the gang who murdered journalist Veronica Guerin.
Ex-garda John O’Neill was jailed for four years in 1998 for taking bribes, including from members of John Gilligan’s gang.
Garda Henry was stationed in Ballymun Garda station – the same station that Supt Colm Fox took his own life, in a dramatic way, last year. Henry comes from a long line of Gardai but there are many questions unanswered. Henry had access for months to the pulse system; she even made over 70 calls to her home town of Sligo and the Garda station asking about the Drug situation in the town and the Drug Gang that she, as we all know now, was heavily involved with – the Irwins and others with Limerick connections. Henry passed on information over a long period and these Gangs were able to evade checkpoints and surveillance. Again, many questions remain unanswered, as she serves her time in prison for her deviant crimes.
Three gardaí suspected of hindering prosecutions
Three released after questioning in anti-corruption crackdown
The probe into allegations of Garda corruption will examine whether suspected co-operation between some officers and members of an organised crime gang prevented prosecutions.
Detectives will focus on whether the evidence indicates that there was improper interference in criminal investigations. This could have contributed to charges not being brought against suspects.
Three officers including a superintendent and inspector were arrested for questioning in an unprecedented move for the force on Thursday.
After the release of the three officers, who also include a detective garda, the investigation will now enter a new phase.
Officers say the arrests have also sent a significant signal to others who may have information that could be deemed relevant to their inquiries and have yet to come forward. It shows the force is treating the allegations very seriously and is determined to establish the truth.
It emerged a businessman who is suspected of laundering money for a number of criminal gangs across the country is at the centre of the probe into alleged Garda corruption.
Gardaí are investigating if he has been using a successful and seemingly legitimate business to launder cash for criminal gangs.
New lines of inquiry are being opened up following the arrests as the scope of the investigation is widened.
A garda superintendent, who was one of the three officers detained on Thursday, was released from custody yesterday morning.
He was suspended from duty following his release. A file on his case will now be prepared by investigating officers for the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will determine if criminal charges should be brought.
He was questioned throughout Thursday and into the early hours of yesterday about a suspected breach of the Garda Síochána Act by allegedly disclosing information, obtained during the course of his duties, to another, knowing that the disclosure was likely to have a harmful effect.
A detective garda, who was arrested for suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was also questioned into the early hours and released.
He had already been suspended from duty following his earlier arrest on a suspected separate offence.
Both men had opted to continue their questioning into yesterday morning rather than opting for a rest period of up to eight hours during the night.
A garda inspector, detained for suspected breaches of the Misuse of Drugs Act, was released without charge on Thursday night. He was also suspended with a file being prepared for the DPP.
The anti-corruption investigation, which has been under way for the past 10 months, is being carried out by members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).
It has included covert surveillance on known criminals and intercepts of their mobile phone usage.
The probe has already looked at the suspected leaking of information by gardaí to members of the major crime gang, which has been operating on a wide scale.
This included information about a planned search and seize operation last year by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), targeting members of the gang and other criminal associates with loose connections to that network.
The leaks were said to have compromised that operation, which was then put on hold while further inquiries were made.
The CAB raids went ahead earlier this year.
The searches were carried out without the knowledge of local gardaí and all of those involved were from CAB and personnel from the Garda national units.
Fred Bassett has a few comments to make:-
This is one of the most serious of the Corruption cases within An Garda Siochana. I know one cannot comment too incisively because files are being prepared for the DPP but one can ask how the ranks of Supts. and Inspectors, can be so easily bought. It raises further questions. With Drugs, comes multiple millions of years each month entering the country. How many more of rank are heavily involved in obtaining large sums of money and giving the Dealers illegal protection and wearing the uniform sadly in the name of this State. Charlie Flanagan needs to be on top of this and his junior minister who thinks he knows it all – Staunton. There may have been 18 arrests in Drogheda yesterday evening but that is the same as retrieving £5 from a robbery of £1 million. The tip of a major corrosive Iceberg. Drogheda is still under siege and Pierce who was released from prison some days ago was taken by 16 Gardai, armed, and is now believed to be hiding in England. Again many questions remain unanswered here.
Commissioner Drew Harris needs to bring in a specialised unit in the same format as the FBI trained and also Forensic money laundering experts to chase down the funds and more importantly to get to the people who clean the Drug money to so called respectability. A simple example THE LEGAL PROFESSION; ACCOUNTANTS; ESTATE AGENTS; FINANCIAL BROKERS; AND MOTOR GARAGES WHO OPERATE AT FREE WILL. Without these corrupt brokers the Dealers cannot operate. It is simple: FOLLOW THE MONEY – FOLLOW THE SOURCE AND LET US NOT FORGET THE BANKERS WHO ALSO SET UP ACCOUNTS FOR GANGSTERS AND TAKE BRIBES. These need to be hunted down urgently and they operate in all areas in this country, not forgetting Dublin 2, 4, and 6.