Senior gardaí backed 'obsessive' harassment campaign

The most senior gardaí in Donegal approved of an obsessive zero-tolerance campaign of harassment against the McBrearty’s.

It was orchestrated by corrupt sergeant John White, sacked in 2006, and sanctioned by Chief Superintendent Denis Fitzpatrick, Supt John Fitzgerald and Supt Kevin Lennon, Judge Morris found.

He also revealed the three officers tried to distance themselves from the hard-nosed policing under oath at the tribunal.

Judge Morris said it was an appalling dereliction of duty.

“The fact that these officers have subsequently come into the Tribunal and tried to distance themselves from the actions that were taken by the sergeant on the ground is an appalling dereliction of the duty that they owed as officers to the men serving under them,” he concluded.

Lennon was sacked in the wake of the first Morris report which detailed how he faked IRA arms dumps to further his career.

Denis Fitzpatrick resigned as the tribunal carried out its work.

Disgraced John White was drafted into Raphoe to bring Frank McBrearty Senior to heel, the judge said.

He described White as a vigorous garda but said the policing style was inappropriate, over-the-top and at times farcical with the three officers kept fully briefed on what was happening on the ground.

The Judge said they clearly endorsed the regime which included 68 summonses for alleged licensing breaches at the family pub, Frankie’s, between October 1996 and July 1998.

But Judge Morris, in his seventh report, also criticised Mr McBrearty, describing both him and White as obstinate and ultimately likely to go head-to-head.

“I’m also satisfied that blame must be attached to Mr McBrearty Snr and his staff for their obdurate refusal to comply with Sgt White’s direction and their refusal to obey the law,” the Judge said.

“They saw it as their right to ignore the law on the basis that others did so.”

The Judge said those involved in the pub were hostile to gardai and that the McBrearty’s and their staff must bear a share of responsibility for the consequences of the conflict with gardaí.

White’s actions went completely beyond the realms of proper policing, the report said with the judge claiming the shamed officer was prepared to use any methods to secure a conviction against Mr McBrearty Senior.

Such action was completely wrong and should never have been taken, the judge added.

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