Gardai to hold internal inquiry into handling of Jobstown case

Update 10.43pm: Gardai have initiated an internal inquiry into their handling of the Jobstown case it has emerged tonight.

Details of the probe have emerged in the past hour after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan should look into the evidence given by members of the force during the trial.

In a statement tonight gardaí say that a review into "the policing response and the subsequent investigation into the incident" at Jobstown in November 2014 began last Friday. It is being carried out by Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien.

Gardai have said that the review will be from a "lessons-learnt perspective", and that the following areas will be examined: "Key learning points; Identification of organisational practices/policies which require improvement; Training; Any other issues of note."

Update 9.30pm:  The Taoiseach’s comments tonight on the Gardai’s handling of the Jobstown case demonstrate the urgent need for an independent public inquiry according to Paul Murphy.

Mr Murphy was responding to comments tonight in which the Taoiseach called on senior Gardai management to "look into" the evidence given by members of the force in the  trial. 

Mr Murphy said tonight’s comments represent the first crack in the wall of opposition to a public inquiry.

"The call for a public inquiry into the attempted stitch up of protesters in the Jobstown Garda investigation has been met with a wall of opposition from the government up until now. Instead of engaging with the clear evidence of a conspiracy, government representatives have generally tried to distract from it.

"If, as appears to be the case, he accepts at least the possibility of lying by Gardai under oath in the Jobstown trial, then the notion of the Gardai investigating themselves is evidently inadequate. It reaffirms the need for an independent public inquiry. We will be stepping forward our campaign to achieve that."

The Taoiseach’s intervention was also welcomed by Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams.

Earlier: Senior Gardai management should "look into" the evidence given by members of the force in the Jobstown trial according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

In an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time, Mr Varadkar has said people needed to be able to trust what gardaí say in court.

His comments follow growing calls in recent days for a public inquiry into how the garda investigation into the Jobstown affair was conducted.

Those demands follow the acquital last week of six men, including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, who were on trial for the false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton and her advisor.

In the interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time, Mr Varadkar said people needed to be able to trust that when gardaí stand up in court and say something happened, that it did happen, and it should not conflict with video evidence for instance.

"People need to trust what the gardai say on the stand and I can understand that perhaps in a scenario whereby lots of things are happening quickly and people are caught up in the heat of the moment, they may have a recollection that isn’t exactly as things happened," he said in a portion of the interview broadcast by RTE on the Six-One news.

"But I would be very concerned if it’s the case that we would ever have gardaí on the stand in the court giving evidence that is not in line with the facts, that is not in line, for example, with the video evidence.

"I think there is something there that needs to be looked at by the garda commissioner and by senior garda management because we need to be able to trust that when the gardai stand up in court and they say something happened that that did happen.

"And it shouldn’t conflict with the video evidence and if it does that is a problem.

Speaking to RTE news tonight Paul Murphy described the Taoiseach’s comments as "significant" but questioned whether gardaí should be investigating gardaí.

- Digital desk 

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