Gardai at War, with GSOC, Let the Battle, Begin.

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Fundraiser for Garda facing charges over pursuit of infamous robbery gang exceeds €20k amid outpouring of support

It was revealed on Wednesday that a garda, who was earlier driving after the fleeing trio, now faces charges – a move that prompted a GoFundMe page with over 700 donations.

  • 15:16, 12 MAY 2023
Garda (stock)
Garda (stock) (Image:

Gardai who are angry that a colleague faces charges after three criminals died have donated over €18,000 in support of him.

Dean Maguire (29), Karl Freeman (26) and Graham Taylor (31) were killed in a BMW when it burst into flames after a head-on collision with a truck in Co Dublin two years ago.

It was revealed on Wednesday that a garda, who was earlier driving after the fleeing trio, now faces charges – a move that prompted a GoFundMe page with over 700 donations.

The page organiser said: “I’d really appreciate it if you could share or donate to this GoFundMe, which was set up to show support for our own.

“Our colleague is facing difficult times and needs support.”

Among several gardi to donate, a donation was also made in the name of Gerry Hutch, who pledged €5 to the online fundraiser.

He wrote “The DPP and GSOC trying but failing to regain some support, thinking their anti-Garda agenda would work in deflecting from the absolute shambles of their work.

“Garda suicide rates are 4X the national average, gardai are leaving jobs in record numbers, and no-one wants to be a garda any more.

“They have just handed the criminals in the M district a ‘do what you want, we will punish those who try stop you’ trophy.

“It’s the DPP and the courts who decide punishment and it’s the little people who are underpaid, understaffed and under-resourced. They pay the price in the end.”

The three crash victims – all criminals – were fleeing gardai at the time and were driving on the wrong side of the N7 carriageway when their car crashed and exploded into a fireball at 11.40pm on July 7, 2021.

Dean Maguire, Carl Freeman and Graham Taylor
Dean Maguire, Carl Freeman and Graham Taylor

It was reported at the time that they crashed just minutes after speeding away from gardai.

An on-duty garda, who was involved in a pursuit of the Tallaght-based criminal gang members, now faces prosecution arising out of allegations about the incident.

The potential charge was revealed on Wednesday at Dublin District Coroner’s Court during an inquest into the men’s deaths.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) initiated a prosecution after the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) filed its report about the fatal crash.

The coroner’s court heard that the inquest has been adjourned until May 23 because of the potential criminal proceedings against the garda.

A new GoFundMe page was launched to raise €15,000 to support the garda – but it had already raised over €20,000 as of 3pm Friday.

Amongst those who made donations, one said: “The authorities have lost their way. The thin blue line is fading away and the wrongdoers are in control.

“Ordinary people won’t stand for this injustice.”

Another wrote: “This is outrageous. The garda is not responsible when criminals choose to drive recklessly up the wrong side of a motorway without any thought whatsoever about other road users.

“In doing so, [they] also endangered the lives of the gardai in pursuit during the course of their work.

“I wish you every success with this unjust action being brought against you.”

A man told the garda: “You will not be hung out to dry. We will all stand behind you.”

Another wrote: “You have every member behind you. Stay strong and take every piece of help. We are all standing shoulder to shoulder with you.”

One more wrote: “You were doing your job and should be commended for doing so.

“It’s what we signed up to do. We cannot and will not take this lying down.

“You have everyone’s support, inside and outside the job. Keep that head up and shoulders back.”

The potential charge against the garda shocked some gardai, according to Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Brendan O’Connor.

He said “The news that any member would face the threat of criminal charges for any actions while carrying out their duties for the protection of the public has come as a shock.”

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has also been critical.

Its general secretary Antoinette Cunningham said that “once again” a garda had been “subject to a protracted GSOC process” only to “find out in a public domain that he is to face charges”.

It is alleged that a BMW car carrying Maguire, Freeman, and Taylor was travelling erratically before it drove onto the N7 on the wrong side of the road.

Reports at the time stated that gardai pulled back, but the car crashed a few minutes later, killing all three men.

They had over 200 convictions between them and were associates of a major burglary gang based in Tallaght, Co Dublin.

As the BMW had been pursued before the crash, the Garda Ombudsman was notified to conduct an investigation.

The funeral of Dean Maguire, who burgled homes and stole cars, attracted controversy.

A dashcam video posted on social media appeared to show a convoy of supporters driving at speed through Dublin as it surrounded the hearse.

A screwdriver and a torch were then placed at the altar as gifts in praise of his burglary skills.

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