Top garda won’t be prosecuted for Covid breach
4th April 2021
A senior garda has escaped prosecution for breaching public health guidelines by attending a high-profile press conference while he was awaiting the results of a Covid test, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ruled that the officer will not be charged following consultation between internal Garda investigators and the State prosecutor, sources have confirmed.
In mid-October, several gardaí and journalists who attended the Garda briefing last October 19 on the disappearance of Jo Jo Dullard in Newbridge, Co Kildare, were advised they may have been exposed to Covid-19.
The senior officer was suspended as he knowingly attended the press conference while awaiting the result of his Covid test. He subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.
He immediately informed his superiors, leading to his suspension and all who attended the press conference being notified of their potential exposure.
It is understood at least one person who attended the press conference also tested positive.
The garda remains suspended from An Garda Síochána.
A chief superintendent was appointed to lead a disciplinary inquiry into the incident.
Up to 25 gardaí, members of the press and public were required to self-isolate for two weeks after they were potentially exposed to the virus at the press conference.
Senior security sources say the officer is still facing “serious” disciplinary sanctions despite being cleared by the DPP.
“He will be the first man in the history of An Garda Síochána to be disciplined for coming to work sick,” said one source.
“The public health guidelines are clear.”
At a minimum, the officer is facing a caution or reprimand for attending the event, sources say.
If his breach is found to be more serious, the “extremely well respected” officer faces having his pay docked, a demotion and even dismissal.
It is not expected he will lose his job.