Suspension for senior civilian in Garda HQ is overturned after investigation
24th July 2022
A civilian member of An Garda Síochána based in Garda Headquarters has had his suspension overturned following a major internal investigation.
The man, who holds a senior position in the force, had been suspended over allegations he was running a private company and doing “favours” for businesses outside of working hours to ensure they won lucrative garda contracts.
A probe into his conduct was initiated after a business person contacted gardaí to inform them of the man’s alleged work practices outside of An Garda Síochána, it is understood.
An investigation began, and he was suspended. However, he has recently been reinstated to his position after “no adverse findings” against him, according to a well-placed source. When contacted, a garda spokesman declined to comment.
The incident is one of a number of recent cases in which gardaí and civilian members of the force have been suspended before later being cleared of any wrongdoing.
A source said An Garda Síochána “is far too quick” to suspend members, sometimes based solely on unsubstantiated allegations.
A separate source disagreed, pointing out that because of the sensitive nature of garda work, if officers are suspected of corruption offences, in particular, they must be removed from their jobs in the interest of state security.
There has been a steady increase in the number of garda members suspended in recent years, due in part to the establishment of the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit.
Recent figures show 115 members of An Garda Síochána, including civilians, are currently suspended. The statistics were submitted by An Garda Síochána to the Policing Authority last month.
A proportion of the 115 suspended have been removed from their jobs for extended periods while investigations are carried out. In one case, an officer accused of taking cocaine in a Kildare nightclub remains suspended as disciplinary proceedings against him have yet to be concluded — nearly five years on from the alleged offence.
Alleged sexual offences account for 17 suspensions. The same number of gardaí are suspended over “theft/forgery”. Sixteen are suspended for allegedly perverting the course of justice, and 13 are suspended for “discreditable conduct”. Ten are suspended under the heading of “drugs/misuse of drugs” and 10 over claims of “domestic violence”.
Nine are suspended for allegations of “assault causing harm” and six for alleged “misuse of accessing the garda information system”. Eight gardaí are suspended for allegedly driving under the influence and two for the alleged misuse of garda resources.
One is suspended for “neglect of duty” and one for alleged “corrupt/improper practice”.
Earlier this summer, the president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said gardaí suspended from duty on suspicion of wrongdoing are being left as “broken individuals”.
At the association’s annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo, Frank Thornton called for a review of the force’s suspension policy. He said the GRA accepted suspension is sometimes warranted, but added: “Far too many of our members remain suspended without fair procedure or proper investigation.”