Garda Assistant Commissioner has denied it was “extraordinary” that two Chinese
immigrants were given “the best visas available” after allegedly bribing an immigration official.
Assistant Commissioner Martin Donnellan told defence counsel John Rogers SC, that charges against the two men were prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions but the six month statutory period had elapsed and it was too late to prosecute them.
Mr Donnellan, formerly chief superintendent of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, was giving evidence in the trial at Dublin Circuit Court of a former bureau official who allegedly accepted €2,000 in bribes for issuing visas to Chinese students using fraudulent documentation.
The two Chinese immigrants have given evidence that they helped students get fraudulent attendance records from English language schools which were then used to obtain a visa from the accused. They also alleged they gave him four “gifts” of €500 to “thank him”.
John Kennedy (69), Trees Avenue, Mount Merrion, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to receiving bribes as well as a bottle of wine and a meal voucher between December 2002 and January 2003.
Mr Rogers put it to Mr Donnellan: “I find it strange these people, after the time the six months expired, made statements to gardaí in 2004 and later they were given type four stamps. Why did that happen?”
Mr Donnellan replied: “The evidence had to be collected and, as soon as it was practical, a file was sent to the DPP. If it was outside the six months, so be it. We supply the evidence and they direct the charges.”
Mr Rogers suggested that it was “extraordinary” that persons against whom charges were contemplated were then given the best type of visas. “Ireland is giving the best quality visas to people the DPP recommended be prosecuted.”
“I don’t see that as extraordinary,” Mr Donnellan replied. “It’s a matter for the director.”
Mr Rogers also questioned why, if an 80 per cent attendance rate at these schools is required to renew a visa, was he able to find several examples of immigrants with attendance rates of 25 per cent or 50 per cent being granted renewals.
Mr Rogers suggested it was “the norm” to show discretion when dealing with such records.
“I completely reject that,” Mr Donnellan replied.”
Fred says: Finding this article today just shows that this is not a new topic in Irish current affairs ie immigration and signing off on documents without legal status. Reading the above anybody with a brain cell and read in between the lines here. Donnellan has long since retired, he was not a bad fellow, but how he ascended so far up the ranks is perhaps mind boggling but he had that sense of cuteness about him, even his old friend Paddy would agree with that. The fact remains that Flanagan has to depend on the figures and the scams that the Gardai will put before him at any given time and this includes the Department of Justice where Charlie Haughey once said, “An old building with dark old secrets and files practically on most people and more importantly unknown to them”. At the time, this coming from Haughey, raised many eyebrows.
Fast forward to the present: As I said Flanagan depends on Garda figures and there lies the problem. After the fiasco of the Fake Checkpoints, the Fake Breath Tests (over 1 million of them) and scandal after scandal, who would believe anything emanating from Garda HQ. I don’t envy Commissioner Drew Harris and I am only presuming what I am going to say next: I doubt if the Garda Commissioner himself believes anything coming from Garda HQ without going to the psyche in Capel Street.
We are presently consumed by the news about what is really the National Identity card so there is yet another scandal coming down the road and on the big horse riding ahead of the posse waving the card is Regina Doherty from Ballymun, well done to Regina, I wonder has she paid back her significant debts (along with her husband) for a failed company. Regina has no problem spending £70 mn on PR bullshit in promoting the National Disgrace Personal Identity card of Ireland but once has to applaud today the courage of the 70 year old woman who refused to apply for one and suffered the consequences by being bullied, harassed and having her money withheld for over 2 years. Again, well done to this brave woman, in taking on the Government who basically show contempt for the Irish people on a daily basis. Of course there are more scams and shams going on out there than the Gardai will reveal and that is why we need a new era of young investigative journalists who are not in the pockets of elites. I also want to applaud the people of Drogheda today for a great week of music, culture and laughter. Thousands are coming from all over Ireland today for the Brass Bands. Enough for now. Fred.