I write as a former chairman of the Garda Reprehensive Association of the Limerick Division of An Garda Síochána, now long retired, to express my admiration to your journalist Michael Clifford for his very intriguing piece in Monday's publication concerning the current investigations into a number of serving members attached to the aforementioned Garda division.
Let me hastily add that while I do know each of the people mentioned in the article, I have neither been contacted by any one of them, nor have I contacted any of them.
Firstly, let me acknowledge my admiration for retired chief superintendent Gerry Mahon for his taking a proactive step in contacting one of the members currently suspended for no other reason other than a humanitarian one.
Mr Mahon has also gone further and made an affidavit, along with retired chief superintended John Kerins. The latter's affidavit is as of now not openly before the High Court, so we'll park that one for the present.
Gerry Mahon's affidavit is very much openly before the court presently. He (Mr Mahon) states that he is not a friend of Supt Eamon O'Neill, other than having worked closely with him in many very serious investigations in Limerick and beyond.
As can be deduced from Mahon's affidavit, his main concerns are obviously first and foremost on the issues of the ongoing health of those involved in the by now long-running saga on investigations.
Secondly, he refers to the very real concerns that these investigations will have a very grave chance of a miscarriage of justice being perpetrated and that the good name of An Garda Síochána will be seriously damaged, both in the publics minds and also not least will (and no doubt presently actually is) have a moral sapping influence on serving members.
Chief Superintendent Walter O'Sullivan of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), states that "everything involving the suspension and investigation of Supt O'Neill is being done by the book and according to procedure".
Well that's okay so. No need to worry about the long drawn-out investigations to date. No need to be in any way concerned about the health of those under this immense pressure — both mental and physical — while we tie up a few loose ends.
The old adage 'Justice delayed is Justice denied' springs to mind — at least from this perspective.
Whilst, of course, every avenue must be thoroughly and comprehensively followed in all of these matters, surely its time that the Garda Commissioner, Mr Drew Harris, who is after all ultimately directly responsible for the welfare and care of all members both serving and presently suspended, should expedite these grave issues which have now become a concern of both the wider public and the members serving under his command. That request can hardly be seen as being an unreasonable one. At the end of the day surely a humanitarian touch, such as was shown by Gerry Mahon last February, is not asking for too much.