Garda sacked over fake explosive finds

A disgraced Superintendent who orchestrated fake IRA explosive dumps across county Donegal was today sacked from An Garda Siochana.

A disgraced Superintendent who orchestrated fake IRA explosive dumps across county Donegal was today sacked from An Garda Siochana.

Supt Kevin Lennon was axed by the Government after Justice Minister Michael McDowell briefed cabinet colleagues on findings from the Morris Tribunal into allegations of corruption in the Gardaí.

Tribunal Chairman Mr Justice Frederick Morris ruled Lennon and a former colleague Detective Garda Noel McMahon planted hoax explosive caches to further their careers. He also said Lennon lied to the inquiry.

A Government spokeswoman confirmed: “The Government at its meeting yesterday decided to dismiss Superintendent Kevin Lennon from the Garda Síochána.”

The Morris Tribunal’s damning report in July found Lennon and McMahon had used alleged IRA informer Adrienne McGlinchey to set up the finds in the early 1990s.

The pair were implicated in a series of seizures of home-made explosives and supposed IRA weaponry over a 12-month period from late 1993 onwards.

McMahon has since resigned after dismissal proceedings were launched by Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy. Two other senior officers also withdrew from the force in the wake of the report.

Supt John P O’Connor who was in charge of the Buncrana district and former Border Supt Denis Fitzpatrick took early retirement after meetings with Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy.

Lennon, who was suspended from the Garda since August 1, 2002, has publicly rejected Judge Morris’s findings and claimed the outcome of the inquiry was predetermined.

“You Sir have convicted me on the basis of hearsay evidence, suspicion, innuendo and opinion,” Lennon told the Tribunal in July.

“I do not accept these findings. In effect you found me guilty of all the allegations made against me…… Fair and balanced procedures were not applied in my case.”

The disgraced officer, who represented himself at the tribunal, also applied for the taxpayer to foot a €37,000 legal bill.

Judge Morris said Lennon had lied to the tribunal on almost every issue and added that asking the taxpayer to pay his costs was not an option.

The tribunal was set up to look into allegations of Garda corruption in County Donegal. Lawyers are currently examining the events around the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron in October 1996.

Its second interim report is not expected until the spring of 2005.

In total, 17 Garda officers were implicated in mismanagement, negligence and corruption in the Donegal division during the 1990s.

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