Garda sick note case ‘should have just been a HR issue’

The gardaí have used their powers of arrest and prosecution against civilian employees of the organisation in industrial disputes on a number of occasions, according to a leading public sector union.

Garda sick note case ‘should have just been a HR issue’

The gardaí have used their powers of arrest and prosecution against civilian employees of the organisation in industrial disputes on a number of occasions, according to a leading public sector union.

The revelation comes in the wake of the announcement that the case of Lynn Margiotta, who was arrested and prosecuted for allegedly producing fake sick notes to Garda management, has been referred to GSOC for inquiry.

The case against Ms Margiotta and her GP bother Tony collapsed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last March. Ms Margiotta’s solicitor Yvonne Bambury has claimed that the criminal justice system was used to process what was a human resources issue.

A spokesperson for Ms Margiotta’s union, Forsa, told the Irish Examiner that it is currently engaging with Garda management on the issues that arose in the case. However, Ms Margiotta says that she has not been contacted formally by either Garda management or her union.

“This was not the first time that Garda management on the operational side used their powers to pursue such matters through the law rather than HR code,” the spokesperson said. He was unable to provide any other examples.

He said the union was not in a position to represent Ms Margiotta during her ordeal.

Initially there was contact between Ms Margiotta and the union in this case when it first arose in 2014, but given the pressing of charges, Ms Margiotta indicated, for obvious reasons, that she would be engaging legal representation.

“This effectively ended any direct involvement by the union at the time.”

Ms Margiotta was arrested in August 2014 on suspicion of producing false sick notes, although at her trial the investigating garda said he accepted that she was suffering from a condition at the time. Three weeks before she was arrested she had begun the process of making a formal bullying complaint against a sworn member of the force in Store Street, the Dublin station where she worked.

She maintains that the four-and-a-half year investigation and prosecution she and her brother were subjected to was entirely related to the bullying complaint she had made. For most of the period since her initial arrest she was not paid any wages by An Garda Síochána.

Last Tuesday, this paper reported that the Policing Authority has now referred the case to GSOC for a full investigation following three meetings with the garda commissioner on the matter which did not allay concerns held by members.

The gardaí have used their powers of arrest and prosecution against civilian employees of the organisation in industrial disputes on a number of occasions, according to a leading public sector union.

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