Bespoke Garda Personnel,members of the local law enforcement agency in the Independent Republic of Donegal ,seen attending to a citizens requirements........possibly the most expensive fitting in history-and you- the taxpayer were billed for the stitch-up..! (The Morris Tribunal Affair)
As a result of both the excess of violent intercourse between our gallant boys in blue,and unruly members of Celtic Tigerland, there exists at present,awaiting court deliberations; on the one hand a backlog of about 800 writs from citizens, alleging assault,wrongful arrest and other misdemeanours; -and on the other, approx 2000 civil action claims, from Gardai seeking compensation from the state for personal injury or mental trauma, suffered in the course of their duties enforcing the law of the land. (or whatever is left of it).And they dont have to first go before the Criminal injuries Board charade-as is now obligatory for ordinary citizens.
Bertie Ahern has in June 2005 announced his refusal to create an independent ombudsman with its own staff to investigate complaints against the Gardai.
His much vaunted new Gardai Siochana Bill,will ensure that the Gardai continue to investigate themselves and a much vaunted three member "ombudsman commission" of which we will no doubt shortly be hearing about in numerous government propoganda press releases, will be a toothless " red herring" according to professor Dermot Walsh law professor at the University of Limerick.
Professor Walsh declared the current malaise within the force to be part of "internal Garda culture" fostered at Templemore, continued through Garda station service and carried through into promotions"
He declared that the force has no versatility within its recruiting system, do not mix with other students and sectors of society, have no graduates or experts from the outside world within its ranks, and as of now " is producing clones all the way up the force".
This vote gathering sop of refusing to properly reform our police force is doing no favours to the Gardai rank and file, and will not ,in the long run, benefit the force. They would ,for their own reputations sake have been wiser to ask Bertie Ahern to do his task properly.
What do Fianna Fail ever do "properly".? The taxpayer paid generous compensation to the best Garda Commissioner the force ever had, one Edward Garvey when he was sacked by Fianna Fail for an excess of competence (above and beyond the call of duty.!) He won substantial damages in the courts for wrongful dismissal.
Suffering at the hands of miscreants is a mixed blessing for members of the "force", many of whom receive a tidy tax free six figure settlement in court, courtesy of the longer suffering law abiding taxpayers.(Not to mention the legal eagles expenses of up to half the damages agreed.)
No wonder the queue for new Garda recruits-when it opens- is always a lengthy one. Blatant thuggery is now an unpalatable fact of life in towns and villages that had not known the kind of violence associated with the growing phenomena of binge drinking and drugs.
Exactly a year ago , figures from Operation Encounter, set up in 2002 to combat alcohol-fuelled violence on our streets, showed that more than 17,000 people were assaulted over a two-year period. only a minority of the assailants were ever charged.
Less served custodial sentences.
Following particularly violent assaults, some 5,300 victims had suffered injuries and 230 were seriously injured.
Coming so soon after two horrific murders in August 2005 (A professional 'hit killing in Cork and the brutal murder of a 50 year old man in Celbridge who opened his door to two youths fleeing from a marauding gang of youths) the callous stabbing of a housewife who was queuing for a taxi on the main street of an Irish country town (Naas) ,the same month, is a frightening reminder of the raw aggression seething in a society where mindless violence is now endemic.
Given all this,and the weekly armoured car heists,the illegal dumping industry,citizens in bin tax rebellion countrywide,fuel laundering,etc etc it is a wonder that law and disorder is no longer an issue with the electorate -at least until Bertie's recent publicity blitz having a go at his estranged rival Jerry Adams and the seemingly unstoppable rapidly ascending , political star,named Sinn Fein.! Ireland,s moneyed elite are somewhat alarmed at developments.
Sinn Fein and Jerry are showing remarkable tenacity,despite the fact that, Jerry, (as was once said of Yassar Arafat) "Never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity"
That said, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein are still genetically "Broderbonded" as soulmates ,despite going their seperate ways in 1926,and neither the gunrunner nor the bomber is far removed from the dark side of Fianna Fail, or those in their "Gene pool".
Fianna Fail has a long and flawed pedigree.Perhaps even today we have not yet discovered the full extent.Can we expect more, after their founder infamously denied the family of Irelands greatest legendary hero, Michael Collins, a presence at the blessing of a simple memorial cross,when they were finally given reluctant permission to erect one in his memory ,in Glasnevin cemetary, in 1939.
And still no independent police Ombudsman.That privilege is reserved for our fellow countrymen north of the border . McDowell & the Soldiers of Destiny are insted recruiting part time 'Fusiliers' to help out on the streets of the Republic. We get a Tribunal cloned , "Comission" . An august body of wise men to deliberate and argue the toss with each other, until the cows-or the cops- come home.
March 22 2007
ONE of the country's most senior garda officers pushed for shamed ex-detective John White to be transferred rather than suspended amid serious corruption claims, the Morris Tribunal heard yesterday.
The tribunal was told it was garda policy to move troublesome officers from post to post if they faced criminal investigations.
Even though Det White's commanding officer, Chief Supt Denis Fitzpatrick, wanted him barred from duty in March 2000, Ass Cmsr Dermot Jennings, then a chief superintendent, stepped in.
He called Deputy Cmsr Fachtna Murphy, the head of human resources, asking for Det White to be moved out of Donegal to the special detective unit, Dublin.
He also secretly rang Chief Supt Fitzpatrick, who left the force in 2004 after being criticised by the tribunal for negligence, telling him a transfer application was being made. But Dep Cmsr Murphy denied he was influenced in any way.
"As far as I was concerned there was nothing mysterious about this," Dep Cmsr Murphy said. "He was coming to me trying to help what he considered was his friend. He was ringing me because a member 'White' had come to him with a problem. He did not influence me in any way."
Dep Cmsr Murphy also denied there was an 'old pals' act' among the senior ranks of the force protecting each others' careers.
The tribunal heard that between 1990 and August 1996, 60 officers were suspended from duty and 27 of them were dismissed or discharged from the force.
Earlier, Chief Supt Fitzpatrick told how he heard about the transfer plan from Asst Cmsr Jennings over the phone. He was told not to mention the conversation and to look out for the transfer application.
"I got a phone call, a very brief phone call, and it started . . . it was one of those 'you never got this phone call, you'll be getting an application in the next half hour, send it up immediately'," Chief Supt Fitzpatrick said.
This was only hours after Det White, who has since been sacked for a catalogue of corruption, had been suspended by Chief Supt Fitzpatrick and it was the first time there had been any mention of a transfer.
"I said okay and that was it. It was as quick a phone call as I've ever got," Chief Supt Fitzpatrick said.
The tribunal heard Det White had been in contact with Asst Cmsr Jennings before the phone call. Det White had dealt with the Asst Cmsr earlier in his career while he ran an informer in north Dublin.
Chief Supt Fitzpatrick said he was not comfortable with the transfer but did not do anything to stop it.
The tribunal also heard that when the transfer issue was raised, Dep Cmsr Murphy showed Supt Fitzpatrick an official policy document. Dating to the mid-1990s, it said officers facing allegations could be transferred in lieu of suspension.
(It used to happen to the Paedophile priests too. Send them to sh*t on someone else's doorstep.!
Ed Carty. Irish Independent
15 October 2007
Claims against gardaí cost taxpayers €16m
By Áine Kerr, Political Reporter
THE State has paid out more than €16 million in awards and settlements to people who lodged claims of assault, unlawful arrest and breaches of citizens’ rights against the gardaí.
The €16,093,715 compensation bill covering the last six years has peaked this year, with some €5.8m to date being paid out following the actions of gardaí in the performance of their duties.
Millions has been paid in out-of-court settlements, prompting Labour’s justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte to accuse the gardaí of attempting to "avoid negative publicity".
Last night, he described the compensation payments as "shocking" and called for the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Garda Ombudsman to investigate the matter.
One assault case this year led to an award of €72,500. Another five assaults led to out-of-court settlements of €180,500 combined.
Costs have amounted to €692,249 for assault cases, and €584,788 for false imprisonment.
However, the largest sum of money is confined to the category of "other", which totals €4.5m to date this year, after damages awarded to nightclub owner Frank Shortt.
The Supreme Court increased damages to the publican by €2.8m to €4.7m this year for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment on charges that he allowed the sale of drugs at his former nightclub in Inishowen.
Mr Shortt received €1.9m in damages in 2005. His award includes an unprecedented sum of €1m in punitive damages for what the chief justice Mr Justice John Murray described "a stain of the darkest dye on the otherwise generally fine tradition of the Garda".
According to figures published by the Department of Finance in response to a parliamentary question from Labour’s Róisín Shortall, the last six years has seen more than €7m being paid out in "other" cases, €6.4m for unlawful arrests and €2.6m for assault.
Mr Rabbitte said the extent of settlements was almost an "admission of responsibility" by the gardaí. "Taxpayers money is being dished out without taxpayers being aware of it," he said
By Kevin Myers
Irish Independent.Thursday January 10 2008
We must, of course, all rejoice that in return for a budgetary increase of 11pc, to €1.6bn, the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy intends to cut crime by just 2pc. But this being Ireland, we know targets are not things to be achieved, so much as the context for the later excuses why they were not.
That being so, how often does the Garda Chief Inspector Kathleen O'Toole, formerly a star of the Boston PD, wake up in the middle of the night, stare at the ceiling and ask the roof joists above her: "Jesus Christ Almighty, with a mere 2pc improvement being the goddamned goal, what the Fachtna am I doing here?"
I don't know Kate, I really don't know. What I do know is that here in my world, if someone is given an increase in budget of 11pc, we're expected, at the very least, to be productive in equal measure. But by the Commissioner's arithmetic, to halve crime in Ireland -- a not unreasonable ambition -- would require a budget of around €4bn.
For of course, it's not possible to lower crime rates in a modern city, is it? Crime and a metropolis go together, do they not?
Well, actually not is the correct word here, because last year violent crime fell by 5pc in New York, which now has a lower rate of major crimes than any major US city. Indeed, of the US's 241 cities with a population of 100,000 or more, New York is safer than 227 of them.
Harlem: what about Harlem? Good question: all those blacks. Do you know how many murders occurred amongst all those "nasty" blacks in Harlem last year? The answer is in three figures. That is, one, two, three. Yes, three murders in Harlem in 2007.
Less than Coolock, or Darndale or Tallaght or Crumlin -- and in an urban precinct where at least 100 murders annually were routinely recorded.
Crime figures for New York City last year were down as follows: murder 17pc, car theft 16pc, rape 11pc and grand larceny 4pc -- the lowest reduction of all, and twice the target for the Garda Commissioner. And as we all know, in Irish life 'target' equates to the Senegalese for putting a concrete mixer on Mars.
Now, in my experience some of the best and most decent people in Ireland join our police force. They enter honest and decent, and are soon broken by the horrors of a deeply politicised and dysfunctional organisation.
As Kathleen O'Toole pointed out recently, it takes on average 12 years for a garda recruit to be made sergeant, and another eight years to be made inspector. This is madness. No private organisation could survive with such vertical immobility.
But slow promotion -- slowmotion -- is a rampant disease in Irish State life. We have 50-year-old commandants (majors, Kate) in the Army, when soldiers of the same ability in the US or British armies would be one-star or two-star generals. Talent is squandered on internal politics, bitterness and booze.
Mere Irishness has nothing to do with our failings. Kathleen O'Toole -- one of the most outstanding officers in the history of the Boston police -- is proof of that.
So, too, is the man behind the triumph of law over disorder in New York City: Commissioner Raymond W Kelly, formerly (of course) of the United States Marines Corps, the finest fighting force in the free world. I could equally point to the triumphs of Dublin-born Commissioner Timony of both Philadelphia and Miami.
For policing, like soldiering, is what we Irish have always done well. So why are we failing so lamentably at home? Well, it comes down to this: politics.
Our political classes are dominated by people whose home areas and lives are untroubled by crime, and who feel little empathy or compassion towards the working-class people whom crime most effects.
For Ireland is perhaps the most class-conscious country in Europe. We need no royal family nor peerage to maintain the social and cultural Berlin Walls which separate Dublin 4 and 6, home of all those self-regarding middle-class Labour voters, from Darndale and Coolock, where gun crime is now rampant.
For we have criminal gun crime for the same reasons that IRA gun crime went on for so long: because our political classes have not been shot, and are too morally inert to have taken the necessary action to have crushed either terrorist or criminal. But just one gangland killing, just one, among the precious 4 and 6 brigade, and by God, policing priorities would soon change.
Until then, our political establishment will not really care what happens in working-class housing estates.
If it really did, Garda Commissioner Murphy's head would be on a stake outside Dublin Castle for even daring to promise a mere 2pc drop in crime in exchange for an 11pc increase in resources. Instead, his bonce is still on his shoulders, and the outcry from TDs over the ploddish modesty of his ambitions could have been completely drowned out by the din of tadpoles darning their socks.
J UDGMENT of Murray C.J. delivered on the 21 st day of March, 2007
" The plaintiff, Mr. Shortt, has been the victim of disreputable conduct and a shocking abuse of power on the part of two Garda officers, namely a Superintendent and a Detective Garda. They both engaged in a conspiracy to concoct false evidence against the plaintiff which in turn resulted in perjured Garda evidence being given at his trial for allegedly permitting drugs to be sold in his licensed premises in Co. Donegal in 1992. That perjury procured his conviction by a jury. What followed as a consequence for the plaintiff was a tormenting saga of imprisonment, mental and physical deterioration, estrangement from family, loss of business, public and professional ignominy and despair. Furthermore, as the learned High Court Judge put it, "[T]he plaintiff was sacrificed in order to assist the career ambitions of a number of members of the Garda Síochána."
This affair cannot be bracketed as a couple of bad apples in the proverbial barrel. The misconduct penetrated the system of law enforcement too deeply and persisted over too long a period to be discounted in such a fashion. Concrete independent evidence of the wrongful conspiracy against Mr. Shortt only emerged in the course of an official Garda investigation into affairs in Donegal. The matters concerning Mr. Shortt may only have been a rather small part of that investigation but the lack of immediacy or action in response to the evidence which emerged concerning his trial does raise such questions as to whether there is some complacency at different levels in An Garda Síochána with regard to the exacting standards of integrity which must at all times be observed by its members
First of all there is the immediate incarceration of the plaintiff in the aftermath of his conviction:"
"Following his conviction the Plaintiff was handcuffed in court and taken down. The trial and conviction received widespread publicity. He was photographed being taken away from court. He was taken to Mountjoy Prison.
At Mountjoy Prison he was required to strip and shower and was given prison garb comprising denim pants and a denim shirt which were too big for him. He was placed in a cell with two other prisoners shortly to be joined by two
other prisoners. He felt threatened by the presence of the other prisoners who were in their twenties the Plaintiff himself then being sixty years of age. For the second night and the following twelve weeks he had a cell to himself. This cell was in the old prison and measured 10’ x 7’. It was in disrepair. It had one window high up. The floor was of lino badly burnt and unclean. His bed had a thin horse hair mattress. There was a stench. The cell was infested with mice and cockroaches. There were no washing or toilet facilities. The toilet was a small aluminium soup pot. He was confined to the cell for seventeen hours each day. He had to slop out each day in the toilet area the floor of which was generally covered with urine, excreta and vomit. He was allowed out of the cell to collect his meals which he then took back to the cell toconsume. Apart from taking air in the exercise yard in the morning and afternoon he read in his cell. He found it difficult to cope with his loss of freedom. On a number of occasions he was taken back to the Four Courts in relation to outstanding summonses. On these occasions he was placed in a holding cell with some twenty other prisoners which cell was in a deplorable condition."
Subsequent period in prison
"While in prison the Plaintiff suffered from illness. In the gym he damaged his arm and shoulders and was prescribed pain killers. These had a severe effect on his stomach. There was a gradual increase in the pain in his neck and shoulders and he continued to suffer from stomach problems with cramps and vomiting and sleep disturbance. This continued for some seven months before he was sent to the Mater Hospital. The neck and shoulder symptoms were diagnosed as related to his work in the gym. He was treated with injections of cortisone. About this time he applied for temporary release to attend the baptism of his grandchild but was refused. He sought temporary release to attend his daughter’s 13th birthday party on the 23rd August 1995 but was again refused. From the first day he entered into Mountjoy he developed depression and was consistently depressed for most of the first two months. Thereafter his depression was intermittent. He was treated by prescribed medication. He was given tablets to help him sleep but after time was able to dispense with these. In prison he also suffered from vertigo and high blood pressure. He practised meditation twenty minutes each morning and each night to help him cope with his situation and this gave him relief.
While in prison he saw a television programme "Drugs in Donegal" in which Superintendent Kevin Lennon appeared in front of the ruins of the Point Inn and stated that the proprietor was then currently serving a term of imprisonment in relation to illegal drugs. This upset him greatly. Also there were several violent incidents in the prison which upset him greatly."
JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Hardiman delivered the 2 1st day of March, 2007.
This is a most serious, tragic and alarming case. It has been before the Courts now, in one form or another, for nearly fourteen years. The plaintiff/appellant Mr. Francis Shortt was framed by gardaí on drug offences in 1995, and given a three year sentence. His life was almost totally ruined and he was reduced to a state of despair. At that nadir of his fortunes he found the strength to reject an offer of early release, on the condition that he dropped his appeal and thereby acknowledged his guilt: the Court has heard no explanation of how, why and on whose authority this offer came to be made to him. He lost his first appeal. After a long struggle, conducted by dedicated legal advisers, the prosecution quite suddenly, and without any substantive explanation, consented to his conviction being quashed, in November 2000, some years after his
release. The reading of this apology was (apart from the judgment of the Court) the last act in an extraordinary fourteen year history which saw Mr. Shortt, then a 60 year old Chartered Accountant and business man, and the father of five children then aged from 12 to 22, perjured into prison by gardaí. They seem to have borne him no personal ill will: they did it for the purpose of furthering their own careers, and in particular that of their commander and mentor Inspector, later Superintendent, Kevin Lennon. Lennon inspired the perjury and gave it a form and coherence which his principal coadjutor, Detective Garda Noel McMahon, was himself incapable of achieving. I will attempt to summarise what occurred as follows: The Point Inn premises were closed for renovations after the death of Mr. Shortt’s brother in 1991 and reopened on the 18th April, 1992. Almost immediately, it became clear that a problem existed with drug dealing in the premises, in particular the presence of drug dealers from Northern Ireland. This problem was acknowledged both by the gardaí and by Mr. Shortt and was the subject of considerable discussion, oral and written, between them. Eventually it was decided to address this problem by putting undercover gardaí into the premises at weekends over a period of some months. Noel McMahon was always present in an undercover capacity; Garda Tina Fowley was present on all but one such occasion. It was agreed at the trial that the topic of undercover gardaí had been discussed between Mr. Shortt and Superintendent Brian Kenny. Mr. Shortt said he was aware from this discussion that there would be undercover gardaí in the premises whereas Superintendent Kenny, agreeing that the matter had been discussed, said that he had not committed himself on this point. As will be seen, Mr. Shortt’s account of this matter received some unexpected support long after the trial. Subsequent to a major raid on the premises in August, 1992, the gardaí charged Mr. Shortt with multiple charges of permitting his premises to be used for the sale of drugs on that and other occasions.
Despite the large number of charges, when the case came to the District Court there was (according to McMahon) a "semi-deal" available to Mr. Shortt whereby he would be allowed to plead guilty to one charge and the matter would be dealt with by way of a fine. Mr. Shortt did not avail of this offer. It was then decided to have the matter dealt with on indictment in the Circuit Court. Mr. Shortt at all times protested his innocence of the charges in question. When a Book of Evidence was eventually produced it turned out that the case against him was very weak indeed, almost non-existent: on the hearing before the Court of Criminal Appeal counsel for the State conceded that there was then insufficient evidence to put Mr. Shortt on trial "on the statements". A vital development then occurred. Papers were sent to counsel to advise Proofs. Before a written advice was drafted, there was a lengthy meeting between State counsel and various gardaí in the Lake of
Shadows Hotel near Buncranna. When counsel’s Advice of Proofs was received it pointed to the fact that the evidence in the garda statements was grossly inadequate to support the charges. As counsel said, the evidence available from the garda statements clearly established that drug dealing was taking place on the premises but it did not establish that Mr. Shortt was in any way involved in or tolerant of this. Portions of the evidence, indeed, were open to the construction that he was not aware of it. In so advising, counsel was doing no more than her duty to her client, the Director of Public Prosecutions.
This Advice of Proofs came to hand in September, 1994. It presented the gardaí with an acute dilemma: a trial date had been fixed for October, 1994, and here was State counsel telling them that, on the Book of Evidence, they had no case. Certain gardaí then engaged in a conspiracy to transform a very weak case into a very strong one by inventing evidence. This was done cleverly and cold bloodedly, in a manner fully described in the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal.
Matters still unexplained.
But there are significant aspects of the case which are still unexplained. These include how it came about that Mr. Shortt was returned for trial on serious criminal charges, at the suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions, even though it was conceded in the Court of Criminal Appeal that there was then no sufficient case against him on the documents which had been produced; how, despite this state of affairs, Mr. Short was offered a "semi-deal" whereby the bulk of the charges would be dropped if he pleaded guilty to a single charge, with only minor consequences; how no alarm bells were set ringing by the sudden transformation of a very weak case into a very strong one by new statements from two members of An Garda Síochána containing material which they had inexplicably said nothing about until shortly before a trial date was fixed; how, while unjustly imprisoned, Mr. Shortt was offered various benefits, including early release, if he would drop his appeal and how a very important allegation of an admission of perjury by one of the gardaí involved, from a credible source, apparently escaped the attention of senior gardaí and prosecuting authorities for a considerable time. They did nothing about it. But the D.P.P., while unaware of this important evidence, nonetheless consented to the conviction being quashed, for reasons yet to emerge.
State payments to McBreartys will reach €12 million mark
02 December 2007 By John Burke and Pat Leahy Sunday Business Post)
The total payout by the state in settlements to members of the McBrearty family in Donegal is set to reach €12 million.
A final agreement was reached last week over the family’s decade-long claims of widespread Garda corruption, false arrest and intimidation.
The family had taken more than 70 separate compensation claims, arising from Garda harassment following the death of Raphoe cattle dealer Richie Barron in 1996.
The death was initially treated as an accident, but was later turned into a murder investigation, with members of the McBrearty family being treated as suspects. The Sunday Business Post has learned that all legal actions taken by the McBrearty family and their friends who were targeted for intimidation by gardai have now been concluded.
The settlements include €3 million for Frank McBrearty and his wife, Rosalind, in a personal action against the state and Garda Commissioner, and €2.5million in loss of earnings from McBrearty’s nightclub, which was the subject of more than 100 Garda raids.
In 2005, the state paid out more than €1.5 million to Frank McBrearty junior over Garda mistreatment linked to the investigation into Barron’s death.
That settlement followed publication of the Morris Tribunal report into the activities of certain gardai in Donegal.
Mr Justice Frederick Morris found gardai had attempted to frame Frank McBrearty junior and his cousin Mark McConnell – who will receive a €1million settlement from the state - for the murder of Barron.
Morris found Barron’s death had been as a result of a hit-and-run accident. He said the Garda handling of the Barron investigation was ‘‘prejudiced . . . and utterly negligent’’.
PUBLIC INTEREST PRIVILEGE AND THE COPS
THAT strange case in the Central Criminal Court where veteran undercover cop Detective Denis Grehan was accused of stealing 15,000 cigarettes has proved embarrassing for Garda HQ. He walked free from Dublin’s Central Criminal Court whenthe State entered anolle prosequi plea on the direction of the DPP. The cigarettes, allegedly stolen from a seized Garda stockpile, would have been worth a mere €1,000 on the wholesale criminal market.It was the first time that the DPP so obviously exercised a power known as "public interest privilege" at the request of gardaí to halt a prosecution. The case had started and an opening statement was expected to be made by prosecuting counsel Paul Coffeywhen he instead announced that the DPP had requested that no prosecution be entered. Judge Donagh McDonagh discharged the jury, which had been sworn the previous day. He told them that "obviously something has happened since yesterday". Detective Grehan left the court without a stain on his character. The jury left with an air of bewilderment, which was echoed among those who read brief media reports of the case.Grehan’s defence team, led by Patrick Gageby SC, at an earlier hearing, before Judge White, had sought disclosure about the source of the information which had resulted in his prosecution. This was refused on the grounds that "the proper public administration of justice and the rights of the gardaí not to disclose any information which might impinge on the methodology used to detect and investigate crime" was acceptable. In other words, the courts were upholding the right of gardaí not to disclose material which might result in the identification of an informant. The court proceedings will interest Kathy O’Toole because of their implications for Garda accountability. The Grehan investigation, going on since May 2003, predates her appointment last year as chief of the Garda Inspectorate. At the heart of the case and its outcome is the Garda National Drugs Unit, of which Grehan had been a member for 20 years. The GNDU is the front line team in the battle against Ireland’s growing number of extremely wealthy drugs merchants. The interaction between drugs barons and police investigators is a complex one which has been raised separately in recent days by Enda Kenny, Brendan Howlin and Tony Gregory. All three are asking Justice Minister Michael McDowell to explain the Garda relationship with the Co Louth heroin importer Kieran Boylan. Despite being caught with €2 million of smack and cocaine, Boylan, a convicted bigtime importer, had his prosecution dropped last year after talks between gardaí and the DPP.
No explanation was given in court. The affair is being investigated internally on the orders of Commissioner Noel Conroy.While there is no suggestion that any gardaí involved in the case were corrupt or involved in any wrong-doing, it points up the difficulty of keeping drugs detectives from being tainted by the oceans of criminal wealth flowing about them. Allowing them to work in secret with minimal supervision, and to stay in such vulnerable positions for most of their Garda career, looks like a recipe which Kathy O’Toole will want to comment on in her next report.
While there is no suggestion that Detective Officer Grehan took bribes or was guilty of any wrong-doing during his 20 years in the Drugs Squad, the fact remains that his trial was stopped before it began properly because it was "not in the public interest". Was his legal team prepared to call other Garda members to be cross-examined about the interaction between big-time drugs dealers and police investigators? We may never know. What we do know is that the Grehan case has started a hare running which may travel for some distance. Meanwhile, Kathy O’Toole will be looking at best practice in Britain and Continental countries who, having had their own drugs scandals down the years, have put in place measures to secure the integrity of their drugs crime investigators. These include ensuring that police officers dealing with suchcrimes are rotated regularly, being replaced by colleagues from other units, usually after two years.
(The Phoenix Magazine)
Clearly,we are only told what we need to know on a "need to know" by this government. Now that law and order has virtually broken down and drive by shootings include young mothers in their victim list we the people are privileged to be informed of the following ;
THE WARRANT for the chief suspect in the murder of Donna Cleary in March 2006 was just one of 2,000 outstanding in Blanchardstown and Finglas alone. !
There was an outstanding warrant for 24-year-old Dwayne Foster, who gardaí believe fired the shots on the night Ms Cleary was killed. As the Government continued to defend its record on crime in the wake of this latest murder, gardaí said there are not enough officers to enforce the sheer number of warrants.
Gardaí claim that because the force was "starved of resources", the execution of bench warrants was likely to be down the priority list.
The reality is that the management of Mountjoy jail have nightmares at the thought of even half a dozen of Dublin's garda stations doing a "spring clean" of the numerous unserved warrants that litter the filing cabinets therein.!
The Garda Representative Association also criticised the judiciary, claming there would be far less warrants if judges did not grant bail so often, particularly in cases where gardaí have objected.
It emerged that there was a bench warrant out for the arrest of Dwayne Foster, who gardaí believe indiscriminately fired five shots into the house in Coolock, north Dublin, after he and a number of others were refused entry to a party.
A court order for his committal to prison was also being drafted after he failed to appear for his appeal to a three-month sentence for motoring offences last February.
"We have to hold our hands up, we haven’t been able to execute warrants because of the huge amount of them," "leaked" one garda source. It’s understood there are around 1,200 outstanding warrants in Blanchardstown, and 700 in Finglas, where Foster is from.
The outstanding 2,000 warrants consist of:
* Bench warrants, where people are arrested for failing to answer bail or attend court.
* Committal warrants, where, for example, people are taken straight to custody after being convicted of a crime in their absence.
* Penal warrants for those who fail to pay fines. ( bin taxes, etc )
Gardaí are believed to have greatly reduced the number of outstanding warrants in Finglas with the establishment of a dedicated warrant team. A similar initiative is being adopted in Blanchardstown.
But officers complain that as soon as they cut the backlog, hundreds more warrants arrive from the courts.
"Warrants in themselves are a nightmare. There shouldn’t be as many issued by the courts," said another garda source.
"If the courts used the bail laws, which were changed by the people in a referendum, and were more restrictive on bail, instead of handing them out willy-nilly, there would be an awful lot less warrants."
THE Irish Daily Mail pulled a neat stunt in September 2006 (reports the Phoenix Magazine) when they snapped dozens of motorists using their mobile phones on the day it became illegal under the Road Traffic Act and published many such photos the same weekend – including that of a senior garda, Detective Superintendent PJ Browne. However, Browne states that as he was on duty and acting as garda that day he was exempt from provisions in the act.
The Mail was blissfully unaware of the identity of the senior officer whom they depicted in his car on Stephen’s Green but Browne was pointed out to Goldhawk by a helpful member of the public who has had dealings with the super in the past.
The Mail posted Browne’s picture using his mobile in pride of place at the head of thirteen such photos of motorists inside the paper, stating
that they showed "some of the most flagrant examples of this dangerous and illegal practice" and the paper demanded that the law be enforced.
However, Super Browne, a former member of the old murder squad and also of the Anti- Racketeering Unit (ARU) which was disbanded in 1994, told Goldhawk that he had only received a call – as opposed to making one – and that he was exempted from the provisions of the Act as he was a garda on duty at the time. The Act states that nobody should "hold a mobile phone" while driving but that this "does not apply to a member of
An Garda Siochana .... who is acting in the course of his or her duties and holding a mobile phone in relation to the performance of his or her duties". When asked what duty demand or garda personnel he was responding to, Super Browne replied: "that’s none of your business", before calling poor Goldhawk "a pup".
One has to presume that the senior garda officer was being dutiful and acting legally on this occasion, not least because of his office but also because he is a close student of the law and litigation. Browne has been embroiled in various libel actions taken by him and against him down the years. Some years ago he successfully sued Mount Brandon publisher, Steve McDonagh, for remarks contained in the book My Story by Joanna Hayes concerning the Kerry Babies case on which Browne, as a member of the then murder squad, was an investigating garda.
Browne and four other gardai share €125,000 circa between them, mainly in damages before Browne took another fivefigure sum from the Big Issues, also for remarks on the Kerry Babies saga. Browne also took large sums from the Irish and Sunday Independent, for articles written by
Tom Brady and Veronica Guerin about Browne’s internal inquiries into the ARU.
Altogether, Browne pocketed approximately €100,000 from these four cases.
Browne also successfully defended a slander action taken against him by Garda Patrick Allen of the ARU who claimed that Browne, then head of the unit, had maliciously slandered him. Allen was more successful in his case against the state and the garda commissioner for breach of his constitutional rights in transferring him out of the ARU. However, Browne’s run of good fortune in the defamation stakes came to an end in 2000
when he sued The Sunday Tribune for libel arising out of a story about his role in the Cavan siege of a German man resisting eviction. Browne lost his action and incurred legal costs of over €100,000.
One does not know if Browne intends to sue the Mail for depicting him as someone
who engages in ‘flagrant, dangerous and illegal practices’ when he was, as he stated this week, exempt from the Act.
GOLDHAWK was intrigued to see David O’Brien, the Co Meath developer at the centre of the high-profile planning controversy over Trim Castle Hotel, being lauded as a philanthropist and local benefactor by the Minister for Communications and local TD, Noel Dempsey. In fact, the minister was so full of praise for his pal at the recent official opening of the hotel that he failed to mention the breaches of EU legislation by Trim County Council in the granting of permission for the multi-million-euro project.
According to a report in the local press, Dempsey heaped praise on O’Brien and his wife, Lynda, for their "vision and courage" in developing Trim Castle Hotel. The minister went on to reveal that the O’Briens had offered to stump up part of the cash for the purchase of a nearby site that he had wanted to turn into a public amenity.
(Coincidentally, this site was put up for sale by Raymond Potterton and Company, the estate agents where Noel’s brother Loman is a director. Potterton and Loman Dempsey were at the centre of another controversial land deal, in the centre of Navan.This deal has been the subject of a Garda investigation.)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the minister made no mention of the report into the matter by Frank Connolly’s now defunct Centre for Public Inquiry (CPI). Nor did he mention the claims, referenced in the CPI report, bymembers of Trim Town Council that they were persuaded against their better judgement to vote for the disposal of the land to the O’Briens’ development firm, D O’Brien Developments Ltd. Nor was there any peep about the objections by heritage officials in
Dúchas to the development of a 4-story hotel so close to such a significant national monument as the Ango-Norman Trim Castle, which had been recently restored at a cost of €4.5m.
Indeed, the former minister for the environment appeared unaware of the more recent investigation by the EU Commission that uncovered serious breaches of legislation regarding the screening of the project to establish whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required.
According to correspondence between the EU Commission and Goldhawk: "The Commission established that the legislation had been breached because no record was made of the ‘screening decision’ (the decision whether or not to require an EIA in an individual case) or at least had not been made available."
The report, seen by Goldhawk, also reveals that the matter was raised with the Irish authorities and, in response, they "stated that they would ensure in the future that the screening decisions would be handled correctly".
Oh goody goody no more strokes from Fianna Fail folks-and elephant will fly.!
Detective John White was "unable" to appear before the Morris Tribunal enquiring into Garda corruption in Donegal.
Mr Justice Morris said "the number of Garda witnesses citing psychiatric conditions as a reason for not giving testimony had been a striking feature of the tribunal"
Or a Psychiatrist?
THE Irish office of Interpol is tucked away at the rear of Garda HQ in a newly-built complex allocated to the force's liaison and protection section.
The Phoenix Park office handles garda communications with other police forces and also organises security for foreign dignitaries and the diplomatic corps.
Interpol acts as a central hub for police forces in 186 member countries to share information with one goal in mind: catching criminals and solving cases.
The traffic is constant: every day around two hundred emails are sent to the Dublin office from police forces worldwide. Yesterday more than 100 arrived between midnight and 12pm.
Some are asking about missing people, others warn of foreign criminals who may be in Ireland while others notify the Gardai of Irish people committing crime on the Internet.
The messages are supposed to be flagged using an Interpol method which allows police to gauge the importance of what they are being told so they can prioritise accordingly.
On Tuesday, August 22 last year, two gardai were sifting through 170 emails from Interpol which included a bulletin from the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office.
It told gardai that as part of an operation called Flo, the authorities had identified 2,360 people in 77 countries that they suspected of viewing hard core child pornography.
Gardai were told that two of the suspected users were Irish. Austrian police say they enclosed the IP addresses - the unique codes that identify a computer and ultimately its owners.
For the Austrian police, the investigation was the biggest ever undertaken into a world involving some of the most vile and sickening child pornography imaginable.
Acting fast was the key so the bulletin had been dispatched to each of the countries from where orders had been made by credit card for the images, hosted by an Austrian server. UK officials acted with critical urgency.
Information on 72 potential UK suspects was passed to Britain's anti-abuse unit, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which narrowed it down to 29 individuals.
A spokesman for the unit, based in London, told the Irish Independent last night how it had received the same Interpol notice from the Austrian police force on the afternoon of August 22 last.
He added: "I cannot discuss the nature or content of the email but I can say that we acted on the information within hours of receiving it."
Gardai did not. Despite getting the Austrian email on the same day as their British colleagues, the Interpol liaison office failed to pass it to the Garda's Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit.
Wednesday was a good day for Austria's new Minister for the Interior, Gunther Platter.
It was a chance to show that his four-week-old government was getting on top of a serious crime problem that had helped win the general election.
That morning he chaired a press conference given by his department and the Federal Criminal Police Office to reveal publicly for the first time details of Operation Flo.
He proudly hailed his police force and called child pornography "one of the most disgusting criminal acts" - deserving of severe punishment.
With emotion in his voice, he told the assembled audience: "It is important that people don't look away, but act."
Austrian police then praised the excellent international co-operation in a press release stating that "without teamwork, there is no chance of getting at the perpetrators".
The first calls to gardai came after lunch on Wednesday. Journalists wanted information on the news from Austria that two Irish people were caught up in Flo.
They knew nothing about it. On Wednesday evening gardai insisted they were not aware of any correspondence from Interpol or Austrian police about alleged Irish involvement in the paedophile ring.
But the Austrians were adamant and Harald Gremel, head of the police investigation, said: "Ireland was the only European country that didn't reply, along with several South American countries."
It was damning stuff and Mr Gremel then twisted the knife even further. "It's up to every country whether they pursue this matter or not and whether they pursue people who want access to child pornography. Whoever doesn't want our information, well that's their concern."
Back in Dublin, senior officers scrambled to get on top of what was fast becoming a PR disaster.
The news got even worse when senior officers were told on Thursday afternoon that the Interpol email had in fact been received but had not been acted on.
By 6pm, the force publicly confirmed an investigation into the two alleged Irish child porn users was - belatedly - underway.
And yesterday morning, the force issued a statement expressing "regret" for the delay in acting. An inquiry led by Chief Supt Derek Byrne will now try and find out why the force failed to react to the Interpol communication.
But the intervention of Justice Minister Michael McDowell in signalling there will no disiplinary action taken - before the facts have even been established - has angered others.
Some observers believe that action should be taken, given the seriousness of the ignored intelligence and particularly if sloppy policework is to blame.
The behaviour of the gardai - which now insists it received "non-specific" information from Interpol - has been met with fury by groups dealing with child abuse and sexual violence.
"Even if you accept that the message transmitted was unclear, we would like everybody who sees the words 'child abuse' to be immediately aware that it is something they need to find out more about and not just leave it to one side," said Norah Gibbons, of Barnardos.
This will be one of the key issues to be placed under the spotlight by Chief Supt Byrne who will need to come up with some answers as to how the system failed so spectacularly badly in this case.
For campaigners, there is at least the consolation that a hunt is at last on for two individuals who apparently paid for images of children as young as five being raped.
THE preliminary results of a post-mortem examination carried out by state pathologist Marie Cassidy have shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the death of Derek O'Toole.
The findings showed his injuries were consistent with a road accident.
The examination also ruled out the possibility that Mr O'Toole was the victim of an assault before he was hit by the car.
But key questions remain unanswered:
* Why was he lying on the road at 5am?
* What were the full circumstances surrounding the incident in which he was run over?
* What was his condition prior to the accident?
DEREK O'Toole used his experience from his courageous battle with childhood leukaemia to help others struggling with the disease.
His distraught parents, Derek Snr and Christine, yesterday agreed that everyone adores their children, but in this case the label "model son" really did apply to their beloved son.
Fighting back tears, Christine spoke about her son's painful battle with illness and his voluntary work on behalf of others.
They stressed that Derek had never been in trouble in his life.
"He loved life and he loved people. The other one thing he loved was where I work, the Family Centre, where he did voluntary work," Mrs O'Toole said.
"He has never come to the attention of the gardai, absolutely never at any stage has he been involved with the gardai, either good, bad or indifferent.
"I know people say 'Ah, sure, his mother's son, she would say that about him', but I can honestly say he was a model son."
Eighteen years after they worriedly sat by his bedside in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, the family were left seeking answers into how their son met his death on the main street in Dublin's Lucan.
Mystery still surrounds how the 24-year-old from Clondalkin in west Dublin came to be run over by a car driven by an off-duty garda in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Mrs O'Toole told how Derek used his experiences from his long stints in the Crumlin hospital - where he twice battled childhood leukaemia and underwent a painful bone marrow transplant - to ease others through their illness. He also suffered cataracts in both eyes and appendicitis.
"My work colleagues came this morning and my boss actually said 'You make sure that people know the voluntary work that he done for people, and that he was a giver, he was loved by everybody'," Mrs O'Toole said.
"His involvement in life was to look after people and help them. That is the way Derek was. He had never ever touched drugs or been in trouble in his life."
He gave his time to the group CanTeen Ireland supporting young cancer sufferers, as well as fundraising for the local family support group in Clondalkin.
Mrs O'Toole said that after suffering leukaemia at six and the bone marrow transplant at eight, Derek was left with a dread of needles.
After fearing they would lose him during his lengthy battle with illness, the family said they never expected him to die this way.
Derek, who was the middle child in the family, has an older sister Sharon and a younger brother David.
His parents said they have been looking for answers about the garda investigation ever since they received the dreaded 6am phone call from a nurse to tell them he was lying in Blanchardstown hospital.
The family said they were told that a taxi driver discovered him on the side of the road in the early hours of the morning and that he was rushed to hospital, where he died hours later.
They are demanding an "honest and open" investigation into how he died.
"He has a family that know nothing about the case, know nothing about what is happening and who are listening to it all on the radio only," Mrs O'Toole said.
The family knew he had been out socialising with a friend until around 4am on Sunday before travelling to Lucan in a taxi to ensure that a barmaid from a pub in the area arrived home safely.
Mrs O'Toole spoke of the family's annoyance after two garda inspectors failed to tell her that a man arrested near the scene was a garda. She said that an inspector said a man had been breathalysed and was found to be under the legal limit.
"And that was the last I heard about any arrests or anything else," she told RTE radio.
Louis Hogan Irish Independent march 2007