Whistleblower: Senior garda beefed up finds

A senior male garda in contention for the position of commissioner was one of several gardaí linked to beefing up arms finds and drug-running for criminals, according to Garda whistleblower claims revealed in the Dáil.

Independent TD Mick Wallace revealed the allegations made by a retired garda and stressed it was important that the Government appointed a new Garda chief from outside the country.

The Wexford TD’s claims about a serving assistant commissioner came as parties debated the fallout from the Guerin report and other allegations against the force.

Mr Wallace said he was recently contacted by retired garda Jack Doyle, who gave him a 27-page dossier of claims. Mr Doyle has previously made claims about gardaí involved in drugs trafficking in Cork.

Mr Doyle’s allegations had gained attention over a decade ago, said the TD.

“At the time, the garda authorities confirmed that undercover gardaí had been involved in the illegal importation of drugs into the State as what they described as controlled operations,” said Mr Wallace. “However, a spokesman said these operations were necessary in order to bring the leaders of criminal drug gangs to justice.”

Garda management at the time rejected Mr Doyle’s calls for an inquiry and said nothing inappropriate had occurred, said the TD.

Mr Wallace read Mr Doyle’s written claim into the Dáil record.

Mr Doyle said a drug runner had told him there were opportunities to arrest the boss of a criminal gang but they failed to do so because “they have a senior Garda in their pocket”.

The drug runner told Mr Doyle of an incident in Rosslare when returning with a shipment of drugs. A customs officer stopped him and was about to search his vehicle when two plainclothes gardaí commandeered it and drove out of the terminal at speed. Customs officers followed but the gardaí lost the pursuers.

The drug runner told Mr Doyle about bringing in cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, and firearms.

“Massive amounts of drugs were coming in and quantities were allowed to get into the hands of the criminal gang,” said Mr Doyle. “He told me how he was being well looked after financially by both the criminal gang and the gardaí.”

The drug runner also spoke of leaving a handgun in a wooded area in Cork. He contacted a detective sergeant about the gun’s location and gardaí then added a number of firearms to “beef up the find” and the media reported it as a subversive arms find.

This was done to “further their careers”, the drug runner told Mr Doyle.

Commenting on the claims, Mr Wallace said: “One of them is now an assistant commissioner. He was appointed by the former minister, Alan Shatter. This same individual has been involved in the Boylan case which is a very similar story to Jack Doyle’s.”

The TD said gardaí at the time forced Mr Doyle to retire but that his claims now needed to be fully probed.

“Given that one of the garda individuals involved is now an assistant commissioner, he could actually be the next commissioner, which emphasises the fact that it is so important that the new commissioner does come from outside the State,” said Mr Wallace.

He said he and other TDs had now received more than 200 claims against gardaí.

Fresh claims

Fresh whistleblower allegations against gardaí have emerged, with one garda claiming he was victimised after arresting a colleague for drink-driving.

TDs made the claims as parties debated the fall-out from the Guerin report which highlighted failings by gardaí and the Department of Justice in handling whistleblower claims.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that, following the Guerin report into how whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe’s cases were dealt with, it was now clear that systems had failed.

“However, the wider systematic and historical problems revealed must also be tackled by a programme of significant reform,” she said.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty raised the case of Garda Keith Harrison, who yesterday brought his claims to the confidential recipient — an official who accepts complaints against the force.

“Garda Keith Harrison claims that, as a result of arresting a member of the drugs unit in Athlone for drunk-driving, garda management maliciously set out targeting him while the arrested garda was afforded protection by garda management,” said Mr Doherty.

Garda Harrison also says a member of the Westmeath division prevented successful prosecutions in cases. He also claims a member of the garda drugs unit may have knowingly allowed the sale of drugs within the Athlone district.

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