Fresh accusations of Garda malpractice, including claims that officers directed informants to carry out crimes, have been made in the Dáil.
During a debate on the O’Higgins Report, Sligo- Leitrim TD Martin Kenny (SF) outlined new allegations of malpractice in his constituency, including that gardaí engaged active criminals as informants. Such a practice would be in contravention of a CHIS (Covert Handling of Intelligence Sources) programme.
He also claimed gardaí in Leitrim used “informants, or criminals they have control over, to set up and entrap people for crimes and then prosecute these people”.
Mr Kenny alleged high-ranking gardaí protected what he called “rogue gardaí” and covered for them.
He called on Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to establish a commission of investigation into what he said were fresh allegations.
Mr Kenny said: “There is an allegation that a Garda informant, working under the direction of two gardaí, robbed tools and a generator from a builder’s shed and then sold the generator to a man whose house was searched the next day and the stolen property recovered.
“The man was subsequently charged and convicted in relation to having stolen property.”
Detailing a number of other instances, Mr Kenny said two gardaí reported concerns around the handling of intelligence sources to then commissioner Martin Callinan in 2009 but they were “fobbed off”.
He went on to claim the allegations were also brought by whistleblowers to the then justice minister, Alan Shatter, in 2012 and 2014.
Pointing out that “the vast majority of guards are doing their job honestly and diligently”, Mr Kenny said he had first been made aware of the allegations of Garda malpractice in Leitrim when two whistleblowers approached him in 2014. Some of the information related to him and his family.
“A man who claims to have been a Garda informant told me he had been asked by certain named gardaí to carry out a robbery at my house. The informant claims he did not carry out the robbery. However, my house was broken into in March 2007 and items of value were stolen. I was an elected member of Leitrim County Council at that time,” said Mr Kenny.
Speaking in the Dáil on the findings of the O’Higgins report which focused on allegations made by whistle-blower Sgt Maurice McCabe, Justice Minister Ms Fitzgerald said her focus would not be on the failings that were identified in relation to victims, and the treatment of whistleblowers.
She said there is now a need for “cultural change”, adding that this, in some ways, is even more important than having robust procedures in place.
“Ultimately, any organisation is no more or less than its people — their attitudes, their behaviour, the way they treat others.
“There will be occasions when whistleblowers are found to be right, and occasions when they are found to be wrong — and indeed we can see both examples in the findings of the O’Higgins Report — but the key thing is that they are protected and treated with respect,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
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