The Garda Ombudsman is to widen investigations into garda links to a drug dealer after it emerged he secured an official international road haulier’s licence.
Opposition politicians rounded on both Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and Justice Minister Dermot Ahern claiming Ireland’s international reputation was being severely damaged by the revelations.
Mr Dempsey said he is reviewing the decision to award a licence to Kieran Boylan, a convicted dealer who controversially had separate drugs charges against him dropped last year.
Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan said the Boylan affair, his links to gardaí and his haulage business were bizarre.
“This is particularly worrying in the context of an ongoing (Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission) GSOC investigation into drug charges against Mr Boylan being dropped without obvious reason,” he said.
“The dropping of drug charges against Mr Boylan shocked many people and shook their faith in the criminal justice system. It has damaged our reputation internationally.”
Pat Rabbitte, Labour spokesman on justice, questioned how the licence was awarded in the first place.
“It does not absolve the minister or his department from the negligence in awarding a licence, to a person convicted of drug trafficking and who has a record of importing material into this country as a haulier,” Mr Rabbitte said.
“How could this have happened given that a person is supposed to be of ’good repute’ to get such a licence?”
Mr Rabbitte, who has raised the issue of Boylan’s connections in the Dáil, also asked: “Who is protecting Mr Boylan and why?”
The truckers’ licence allows Boylan to operate across Europe and also gives him freedom to travel across borders on the continent.
The Ombudsman is conducting a public interest investigation into Boylan and his links to gardaí.
One aspect involves allegations that he trafficked heroin and other drugs with virtually no fear of being caught by tipping off some detectives to other drug deals and shipments. It is claimed some officers then turned a blind eye to his lucrative trade.
Boylan had been at the centre of a serious drugs case up until July last year when charges were dropped, suddenly and without explanation.
They related to the seizure of heroin and cocaine worth €1.7m at a truckers’ yard in Ardee, Co Louth, by the Garda National Drugs Unit in October 2005.