Garda superintendent's call for suspension to be lifted rejected by Garda Commissioner

The Garda Commissioner has rejected a suspended superintendent's claim his suspension should be lifted because of an alleged delay and failure to deal with what he says are unfounded allegations against him, the High Court heard.
Garda superintendent's call for suspension to be lifted rejected by Garda Commissioner
A Roxboro Road-based superintendent was suspended more than a year ago when he was arrested and questioned over allegations that he leaked confidential information and was in the presence of another senior officer who allegedly snorted cocaine in a pub.
A Roxboro Road-based superintendent was suspended more than a year ago when he was arrested and questioned over allegations that he leaked confidential information and was in the presence of another senior officer who allegedly snorted cocaine in a pub.

The Garda Commissioner has rejected a suspended superintendent's claim his suspension should be lifted because of an alleged delay and failure to deal with what he says are unfounded allegations against him, the High Court heard.

Supt Edmund Anthony O'Neill (53), who was part of the team of officers who secured five murder convictions in the Limerick city gangland feud, claims the allegations for which he was suspended were false.

The Roxboro Road-based superintendent was suspended more than a year ago when he was arrested and questioned over allegations that he leaked confidential information and was in the presence of another senior officer who allegedly snorted cocaine in a pub.

He strongly denies the allegations which he described in an affidavit as "preposterous and mischievous in the extreme."

He seeks an injunction against the Commissioner and the State restraining his continued suspension which he claims is affecting his financial and physical health.

He also seeks a number of declarations including that the Commissioner failed to promptly investigate the allegations.

His lawyers have argued the delay and failure to establish the truth after more than a year of suspension is inexcusable and contrary to the normal policy of expeditiously dealing with such allegations against a senior officer.

Opening the defendants' case on Friday, Frank Callanan SC rejected the claim the suspension should be lifted or that there had been inexcusable delay in establishing the truth of the allegations.

He said Supt O'Neill was seeking to have the court intervene in a disciplinary matter before a criminal investigation was carried out.

This was an attack on that entire process and should not be permitted by the court, he said.

Supt O'Neill had effectively claimed that the original leaking of information investigation had been abandoned and that a new investigation into his alleged involvement in the quashing of fixed penalty road traffic notices had been somehow contrived in its place, Mr Callanan said.

He had also complained that the way the penalty notices investigation was handled was unusual and would not normally involve an officer being suspended.

Mr Callanan said it had not been contrived and what was being investigated was the criminal allegation of interference with the course of justice.

As a garda superintendent himself, Supt O'Neill knows how long investigations can take and it was not appropriate that he should combine both the disciplinary and criminal matters to make an attack on the process, he said.

The State side did not accept Supt O'Neill could be given information about the criminal investigation in order to support his attack on the process, he said. If he was charged and acquitted, he would no doubt argue the disciplinary process should not continue, he said.

Mr Justice Senan Allen reserved his decision.

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