High Court allows two Garda inspectors to challenge disciplinary findings

High Court allows two Garda inspectors to challenge disciplinary findings
File photo.

Two garda inspectors are challenging disciplinary sanctions against them after they were found to be in neglect of duty in relation to the investigation into claims by a woman that her foster brother sexually abused her in the 1960s and 1970s.

The High Court granted Inspectors Aidan Farrelly and Kevin Gavigan leave to challenge the findings which they say were unlawful and made contrary to natural and constitutional justice.

Insp. Farrelly suffered a €1,300 cut in pay and Insp. Gavigan a €650 cut by way of penalty. They claim the findings have ruined their prospects of promotion and want them reviewed in a proper manner.

The case arose out of a complaint made in 2010 by the woman who alleged she had been abused by her foster brother in Cavan in 1967 and again by him in London in 1970. Insp. Farrelly was asked to review the investigation which had been carried out by a garda and supervised by two sergeants, one of whom was then Sgt Gavigan.

Sgt Gavigan recommended the DPP prosecute and Insp. Farrelly did not. The DPP decided there should not be a prosecution due to an insufficiency of evidence.

In 2015, the woman's daughter made a complaint about that investigation to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

The GSOC officer found Insp. Farrelly and Sgt Gavigan, by then also an inspector, guilty of failing or neglecting to adequately supervise and quality assure the investigation into the sex abuse allegations. They were also found guilty of failing to forward the complaint about the alleged London incident to the UK authorities.

They sought a review of the decision to Assistant Commissioner David J Sheahan who dismissed their application.

They claim AC Sheahan did not state any reasons for doing so. They say they advanced clear and cogent reasons why their reviews should be upheld and why no sanctions should have been imposed.

Unfortunately, they say, AC Sheahan "simply did not engage" with any of the arguments. Basic fair procedures required he should have conducted a thorough review with a reasoned decision given at the end, they say.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted the two inspectors leave to bring judicial review proceedings following an ex-parte (one side only represented) application. The case comes back in October.

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