Fri, 08 Oct, 2021 – 12:45
A now-retired garda superintendent who was arrested in a high-profile investigation into corruption has been informed that he will not face any charges in relation to the matter.
Superintendent Eamon O’Neill, as he was at the time, was arrested at his home in Co. Clare in May 2019 on suspicion that he had passed information about a major garda operation to another individual.
On the same day he was arrested, a colleague of his, Inspector Arthur Ryan, was also arrested but he was informed last year that he would not be facing any charges. A third garda of ordinary rank also arrested that day is before the courts.
Mr O’Neill’s solicitor Dan O’Gorman has called for an inquiry into why the arrests occurred. “There needs to be accountability from those who made these decisions,” Mr O’Gorman said.
The fall-out from what occurred in May 2019 is still reverberating through members, their families and the organisation as a whole.
“It has also affected the confidence and credibility of our police force which we all need to bolster and protect our society.”
Inspector Ryan was questioned about whether he had ingested cocaine in a sports bar in Limerick in January 2019 in the company of Superintendent O’Neill and the third member of the force. The only evidence against him was CCTV footage of him sitting at table in the Hurler’s Bar at 6pm in the evening.
Despite the DPP’s decision, Inspector Ryan is currently still engaged in a protracted disciplinary process over the matter.
Eamon O’Neill retired from An Garda Siochana in November 2020 while still under suspension arising from the May 2019 arrest. In June 2020, he brought a High Court action challenging his continued suspension.
The court was told that he was of the belief that the only evidence against him was the word on an informer. Affadavits filed on behalf of the investigating unit, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), stated that for operational reasons it was not prepared to reveal the extent of any evidence it had gathered.
At the same hearing, retired chief superintendent Gerry Mahon told the court that there was a danger that a major miscarriage of justice might occur as a result of the arrest of the two senior officers.
In the months after the arrest a separate investigation into cancelling tickets for motoring offences was opened by the NBCI in the Limerick area. Arising from that, eight gardaí were suspended.
Four gardaí and Mr O’Neill have been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice over the fixed charge penalty points notices. Retired superintendent and four gardaí charged with attempting to pervert course of justice