There may be Allegations, that Irish Top Cops, have Paedophile Friends, but Why would, Sgt Barry, go this Far? If Factual, it would not be the First time, a Garda muddied the waters to protect the accused, for whatever reasons.

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Disclosures Tribunal to hear claim senior garda tipped off sex abuse suspect

Garda Superintendent Michael Comyns will testify
                  at the Disclosures Tribunal. Photo: Bernadette Hayes

Garda Superintendent Michael Comyns will testify at the Disclosures Tribunal. Photo: Bernadette Hayes

May 04 2022 02:30 AM

The Disclosures Tribunal is to examine claims about the treatment of a garda sergeant who has alleged that a suspect in a child sexual abuse investigation was tipped off about his potential arrest because he was associated with a senior officer.

Paul Barry claims to have been the victim of bullying and alleges this got worse after he began investigating the abuse complaint in 2012.

The tribunal will begin hearings at Dublin Castle in a fortnight into the retired sergeant’s allegations of mistreatment. Several senior gardaí, both serving and retired, are among 29 witnesses due to give evidence in a module which is set to last five weeks.

A number of Mr Barry’s allegations have previously been aired in the High Court, where he has a live personal injuries action against the Garda Commissioner and the Justice Minister. Details of the lawsuit were outlined two years ago in a discovery ruling by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.

The judge said Mr Barry had alleged that starting in December 2010 he had been the victim of a campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation in which Superintendent Michael Comyns played a prominent role.

Mr Barry was a sergeant in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, at the time, while Supt Comyns was stationed in Fermoy.

He claims the campaign intensified after a criminal complaint was made in February of alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl. There were two suspects in the case.

The judge said it was claimed one of the suspects was an associate of then Supt John Quilter and that, prior to being questioned, Mr Quilter told the suspect he might be arrested and should get legal advice. It is also alleged Supt Comyns said the suspect would have to be “looked after” because of his relationship with Supt Quilter. Neither suspect ended up being prosecuted, at the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Supt Comyns and Mr Quilter, who is retired, are both due to give evidence at the tribunal.

The girl at the centre of the case, now an adult, has separately issued civil proceedings against Supt Comyns and Mr Quilter in the High Court.

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According to Mr Justice Humphreys’s ruling, the girl is alleged to have met the suspects on a website and claimed to have been 21. The judge said Mr Barry and the investigation team decided to arrest both suspects simultaneously.

“However, in the meantime, according to statements later made to Gsoc, Supt Comyns told Supt Quilter about the complaint against the latter’s associate, and apparently passed on some details from the injured party’s statement,” the judge said.

He said it was also alleged: “Supt Quilter then attended at his associate’s home, advised him of the complaint, that he might be arrested and that he should get legal advice. Separately, Supt Comyns decided not to arrest the suspect, but to have him interviewed voluntarily, at which point (the suspect) presented a prepared statement and offered no ­comment to all questions.”

Mr Barry claims the “payback” for not going along with Supt Comyns’s view of the matter was that he was served with a disciplinary notice for being 15 minutes late for duty.

The DPP decided not to charge Supt Comyns with perverting the course of justice, taking the view there was no corroborating evidence to support Sgt Barry’s claim.

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