Gardaí cleared of sexual harassment

TWO gardaí accused of sexually harassing female trainees at the Garda College in Tipperary have been cleared of the most serious charges following an internal investigation.

However, the pair, both instructors, have been transferred permanently out of the college after they were found to have breached regulations by entering the block where female recruits are housed, which is off limits to males.

The college in Templemore has also initiated a review of procedures after it emerged the allegations were made following a pre-Christmas party attended by hundreds of recruits, male and female, and some of the trainers. Strict instructions have now been issued reminding students they are barred from entering the block housing trainees of the opposite sex.

Negotiations are continuing between management and the Garda Representative Association over the transfer of the two gardaí, who strenuously denied the allegations they had sexually harassed the female students.

One source close to the two men said: "They are very, very bitter about the whole thing. While they have been cleared, they are still not going back to the college and the negotiations are continuing as to where they are now going to be stationed."

In a statement last night, Garda headquarters said: "Following a complaint by student gardaí regarding an incident on the 22/12/04 at the Gárda College, the Commissioner commenced an investigation.

"This investigation is now complete. No breaches of the criminal law were disclosed and the complaints have been finally determined within the provisions of the Gárda Síochána Discipline Regulations. The Gárda authorities do not comment on specific discipline investigations or their outcomes.

"Ensuring adherence to these standards is a matter for the Gárda College authorities under the control of Chief Superintendent Kieran Mc Gann.

"Instructions are issued from time to time regarding standards of behaviour expected. Regulations exist within the Gárda College to ensure that acceptable standards of behaviour are met."

A Garda Superintendent was appointed by Commissioner Noel Conroy to investigate the allegations. His team interviewed hundreds of student gardaí and staff at the college.

The two young women who made the allegations were also interviewed by Garda Internal Affairs.

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