Confidential garda phone line set up for reporting corruption

Confidential garda phone line set up for reporting corruption

Gardaí have launched a confidential line for the reporting of bribery and corruption, after a senior officer admitted that these are difficult cases to investigate and prove in court.

The new number, 1800 40 60 80, can be contacted 24 hours a day and the messages can be left confidentially or anonymously, before being sent to a central email address, where they will be heard between 9am and 11pm.

Messages will be evaluated by staff attached to the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit, which was set up within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) last year.

Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh, of the GNECB, said there is a suggestion that corruption in Ireland is endemic and, yet, gardaí are not coming across evidence to support that view.

“They are difficult cases to investigate and difficult cases to prove,” Det Supt Walsh said, referring to the small number of prosecutions in this area.

“We need the best evidence and the best witnesses.”

Det Supt Walsh said the hope is that evidence given through the new phone line would fall under the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offence) Act, 2018, which includes new offences relating to corruption occurring both within and outside the state, and which applies to individuals as well as business entities.

“We are going to endeavour to investigate credible allegations of bribery and corruption,” he said.

At the time of the new act being signed into law, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan referred to significant provisions contained in it, including the introduction of criminal liability for corporate bodies and senior management. It also includes new offences, such as an Irish official doing a corrupt act in relation to his or her office, as recommended by the Mahon Tribunal.

Det Supt Walsh said that the unit is prepared for a certain number of false or vexatious allegations and that some information may need to be investigated by other sections within the force. He said some people who might otherwise report corruption or bribery to gardaí might hold back from doing so, out of fear they may be compromising themselves — something it is hoped can be navigated by using the phone line.

He also said that information lodged with the phone line may play a role in fighting organised criminal gangs.

“A lot of criminality is interrelated,” he said, adding that “everyone wants to cover their ill-gotten gains” and that some instances of bribery can be a step away from other criminal elements. 

However, he said many of the cases that come before the courts are in relation to smaller-scale cases, involving areas such as the national car test, and that any credible information lodged with the new phone line will be reviewed as a possible subject for investigation.

The number, 1800 40 60 80, can be contacted 24 hours a day.

More on this topic

Mick Clifford podcast: Whistleblowers in Irish society and righting the wrongs from within  Mick Clifford podcast: Whistleblowers in Irish society and righting the wrongs from within

More must be done to protect financial whistleblowers, committee toldMore must be done to protect financial whistleblowers, committee told


More in this Section

Eight migrants found on ship in Waterford deported from IrelandEight migrants found on ship in Waterford deported from Ireland

HSE: 120 people could die from the flu this winter HSE: 120 people could die from the flu this winter

Jury continues deliberations in Mitchelstown murder trialJury continues deliberations in Mitchelstown murder trial

Flu vaccine uptake by people aged over 65 reaches 62%Flu vaccine uptake by people aged over 65 reaches 62%


Lifestyle

The Marquee in Cork dominated the gig news this week, with a string of announcements for what is expected to be the final year at the Monahan Road venue before the site is developedScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Esther N McCarthy picks perfect paperweights, brilliant books and Christmas collectables this week.Brilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

John Spillane tells Ellie O’Byrne how he’s hoping to fund his next album by taking the bardic route of writing unique compositions for people on whatever they’d like‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

From starring in a Cork-set film, to securing a role in Ridley Scott’s major new HBO series, it has been quite a year for Niamh Algar, writes Esther McCarthyIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year

More From The Irish Examiner