Garda data breach would see ‘bodies lying all over’

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said there would be “bodies lying all over the country” if top secret intelligence on informants was not handled properly by the State’s police watchdog.

The Garda chief said this was why there was such long delays in allowing the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission access to sensitive documentation as part of its investigation into allegations of collusion between a convicted drug trafficker and members of the force.

During a lengthy and demanding session before an Oireachtas committee, Mr Callinan said the area of intelligence and informants — and moreover the disclosure of that information — was “treacherous territory”.

He said he had obligations under human rights and data protection laws, as well as duty of care, and needed guarantees that such information was treated with the utmost care.

“Otherwise, we will have bodies lying all over the country,” he told the joint committee on public service, oversight, and petitions.

He said everyone knew “full well” the attitude subversives and criminal gangs had towards informants.

“I have to be reassured that that information and intelligence is handled in a particular way.”


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