Barring orders against 'at least' 12 serving gardaí

Barring orders against 'at least' 12 serving gardaí

Christina Sherlock of Women’s Aid described the fact that 12 serving officers have barring orders against them as 'deeply troubling but not surprising'. Picture: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

At least 12 serving gardaí have barring orders against them and “hundreds” more could be the subject of domestic abuse reports.

None of the members involved have been disciplined but some of their cases are currently before the courts. 

Because the orders were issued in civil proceedings in a family court, a barring order does not prevent a garda from carrying out a variety of duties, including handling domestic abuse complaints.

Christina Sherlock of Women’s Aid described the fact that 12 serving officers have barring orders against them as “deeply troubling but not surprising”.

Women's Aid has previously "raised concerns" about difficulties faced by women whose abuser is a serving gardaí, she said.

“The gardaí play a unique and vital role in protecting victims of domestic violence both while in the relationship and after they leave, as well as in holding perpetrators to account.

“However, the Garda response to victims of domestic violence can vary from negative to excellent, among and even within Garda stations.

“The situation is further complicated when the alleged perpetrator is a member of the force.” 

While the force has been notified by 12 officers since 2018 that they have been the subject of barring orders, there may be more. 

If the officer chooses not to disclose an order's existence, it goes, as one senior officer admitted, “below the radar”.

Records of domestic abuse allegations on the Garda Pulse information system rarely include the occupation of the alleged perpetrator.

As a result, this makes it impossible to figure out exactly how many serving officers are the subject of domestic abuse reports, but a senior Garda source said “it could run into the hundreds”.

Counsellor and domestic abuse expert Don Hennessy works with victims of intimate partner abuse. 

He is aware of three recent cases where allegations of abuse were made against serving gardaí but no investigation followed.

The Garda Press Office said: “Between 2018 to date there have been a total 12 matters notified internally in respect of domestic violence concerning serving members of An Garda Síochána.

“To date none of the notified matters have led to the dismissal or warning of a member of An Garda Síochána.

“A number of matters are presently before the courts and/or subject of internal discipline."

The spokesperson went on to say that none of the notified matters had led to the conviction of a garda, but that a number of matters are "presently" before the courts. 

 “An Garda Síochána domestic violence intervention policy clearly states that ‘it is the duty of An Garda Síochána to investigate all incidents of domestic abuse, including reports of domestic abuse received from a third party.’ 

“The Garda Commissioner is on record publicly in highlighting that domestic violence is a priority for An Garda Síochána.

“This has been demonstrated right throughout the Covid-19 pandemic particularly in the form of Operation Faoiseamh.”

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