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Fennelly Report finds 'almost total ignorance' at higher garda ranks of secret recordings

The full report has just been published and is 742 pages long.

Martin Callinan was garda commissioner when the recordings came to light and current Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan was one of his deputies.
Martin Callinan was garda commissioner when the recordings came to light and current Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan was one of his deputies.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

THE LONG-AWAITED report of the Fennelly Commission has been published this afternoon.

The commission has found that there was “no widespread or systematic” misuse of information from non-emergency calls recorded at garda stations.

The report finds, however, that it is not possible to say that the information was “never used improperly or unlawfully”.

“The mere existence of the recordings means that potential abuse could not be ruled out,” the report says.

It goes on to say find that: “a significant proportion of the garda membership, particularly in the higher ranks, appears to have been unaware that recordings of non-999 calls existed.”

It further states that there was “almost total ignorance at the highest levels of the force” that the main garda phone line at stations outside of Dublin were being recorded.

“The commission regards this as one of the most surprising findings made in this report,” it states.

The commission’s report on the recordings details the period from  1 January 1980 and 27 November 2013.

The report has, however, been critical of how fears about the system expressed during installation were not acted upon.

“The failure to draw up any formal set of rules or protocols governing the operation and
management of the DAT recording system is surprising and unfortunate,” the report found.

This commission was established just over three years ago to examine the taping of phone calls at garda stations.

Although the practice of recording was known, the systematic nature of it was not.

It came about during the discovery process for Ian Bailey’s case against the State over his arrest for the Sophie Toscan Du Plantier murder.

Read: Another garda report is dropping today. This is what you need to know >

 

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