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File photo of a Garda checkpoint in Dublin city centre. Leah Farrell/

Civilian garda employee gave info about Covid-19 checkpoints in return for cocaine, court hears

The court was told that Holly Hayden had engaged with addiction treatment services and apologised for her actions.

A FORMER CIVILIAN employee of An Garda Síochána gave out information, including the locations of garda Covid-19 checkpoints, in return for cocaine, a court has heard.

Holly Hayden (27) of Bayview Terrace, Bray, Co. Wicklow, pleaded guilty to one count of disclosing confidential information from the Pulse system obtained in the course of her employment on 29 October 2019.

She further pleaded to two counts of accessing confidential information from the Pulse system for the purpose of corruptly obtaining a gift, consideration or advantage for herself at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on 9 September 2019 and on dates between 28 April 2020 and 11 May 2020. She has no previous convictions.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that from 2017, Hayden was a civilian employee of An Garda Síochána in an administrative role for two years.

Gardaí received confidential information that Hayden, working at the Dun Laoghaire District Office, was associated with criminal elements in Wicklow.

The investigating garda told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that Hayden admitted that she relayed information from the Pulse system about a named individual, referred to in court as ‘SN’.

On 29 October 2019, Hayden searched information about ‘SN’ and relayed it outside of the organisation. When interviewed, she told gardai that she received a small amount of cocaine in exchange for the information.

Following analysis of her phone, it was identified that Hayden sent a document containing information from the Pulse system about another individual on 9 September 2019 to a person known to her.

On the same day, she provided a synopsis of information from the Pulse system about a person, referred to in court as ‘WD’. The court heard ‘WD’ instructed Hayden what information to download via the messaging app Telegram. She received cocaine in exchange for providing information on both of these occasions.

The court heard that on a date between 28 April and 11 May 2020, Hayden sent a Whatsapp message with five pictures attached, containing the locations of garda Covid-19 checkpoints.

In a message, Hayden said if she is able to get information, she “never minds doing it, all for the cause”. A person referred to as ‘CE’ replied ‘last thing I need is a problem with supply chains’.

The court heard Hayden and ‘CE’ were in a relationship at the time.

Hayden also took a photo of checkpoint locations on 5 May 2020 and when ‘CE’ asked for more information, Hayden provided it to him. She also sent a message containing seven images of checkpoint locations on 11 May which ‘CE’ then told her to delete.

When interviewed, Hayden made admissions to gardaí and outlined that she had an addiction to alcohol and drugs.

She told gardaí she felt like she was “disclosing nuclear secrets”. She said she “loved” her job and accepted she was going to be caught, but when you “owe a drug dealer money, you don’t have a choice”.

The investigating garda agreed with Paul Murray SC, defending, that his client was a person of “unblemished character” prior to her offending.

He accepted that Hayden told gardaí she received cash, cocaine or a reduction of €80 on her drugs debt of approximately €5,000 for providing information.

The garda agreed with Murray that his client said she was in fear. It was further accepted that she used her own details to carry out the searches on the Pulse system and told gardai she was not aware this information would appear on screen.

The witness agreed that Hayden’s admissions were helpful to the investigation.

Her mother told the court that Hayden’s life was “chaotic” and “messy” during 2019 due to her addiction issues. She said the family paid off Hayden’s debts.

Her daughter has mental health difficulties, epilepsy and a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder. She said her daughter has engaged with addiction treatment services and now helps to care for her grandmother.

Murray told the court that his client apologised for her actions. He noted that she expressed shame and remorse while speaking with the Probation Services and acknowledged her offending was “gross disloyalty” to her employer.

His client had a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs during 2019. Her father died when she was young and her mother and stepfather were in court to support her.

Defence counsel noted that this case has been hanging over his client for two years and there had been “considerable publicity” in the past. He said that she has worked since these offences occurred, but lost her job and may find it difficult to find employment in future.

Murray asked the court to consider adjourning the case to allow urine analysis to be undertaken.

Judge Orla Crowe said urine analysis would be relevant, given that Hayden’s offending was linked to her cocaine addiction.

Adjourning the case to 6 November, Judge Crowe told Murray to impress on his client the “seriousness of the situation”.

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Eimear Dodd and Isabel Hayes