Any disciplinary action against gardaí implicated in allegations of systematic licencing law abuses made by a garda whistleblower could take years.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) is investigating the claims by the Munster-based officer to see if there was any criminality involved.
The whistleblower claims:
Publicans were able to serve after hours without either having an exemption for opening late or a licence to even sell alcohol;
A survey of pubs, restaurants, and hotels selling alcohol in his area found that just over 20% of them were trading without any licences;
The garda records system Pulse was misused, with records about publicans were incorrectly inputted — he claims deliberately — to make it difficult for other gardaí to find their full Pulse record.
If any evidence is found to suggest serving or retired members of the force acted criminally, then a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
However, it could take more than a year for the DPP to decide whether or not officers should be prosecuted. And even if the DPP decides nobody should be prosecuted, the officers could then face disciplinary action.
However, Gsoc would have to investigate to see whether or not there are any grounds for disciplinary action.
It cannot look at both at the same time and has to conclude its criminal investigation before examining non-criminal aspects of the case.
The garda whistleblower went on sick leave after he blew the whistle on what he claims were licensing law abuses as well as abuses of Pulse by colleagues.
The serving garda, who is on sick leave, claims he asked Garda Commissioner Drew Harris “to be let go”.
However, he has instead been asked to wait until after the completion of an ongoing (GSOC) investigation.
“I’m expected to live through a financial punishment beating, to live on nothing until what I have accounted for is proved true,” the whistleblower said in his latest online post.