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Justice Minister apologises to family of Dara Quigley over 'absolutely unacceptable' leak by garda

The journalist died in 2017 shortly after images of her were leaked by a garda.

Dara Quigley died in April 2017.
Dara Quigley died in April 2017.
Image: Facebook via RollingNews.ie

Updated Oct 6th 2021, 3:08 PM

THE MINISTER FOR Justice has publicly apologised to the family of the late Dara Quigley, who died after nude images of her were leaked by a member of the gardaí.

Heather Humphreys today shared her condolences with Dara Quigley’s mother, Aileen Malone, and said that what happened to the journalist was “absolutely unacceptable”.

Quigley, a blogger, journalist and activist, died by drowning in 2017 and Tipperary coroner Joe Kelly returned an open verdict at Tipperary Coroner’s Court yesterday.

In April 2017, Quigley was apprehended by gardaí under the Mental Health Act after she was found in a state of distress walking naked in Dublin city centre.

CCTV images of Dara Quigley were later shared through WhatsApp groups and social media.

The woman was made aware of the issue while staying in rural Tipperary and her body was found in Lough Derg a few days later on 12 April 2017.

“I want to also apologise to the family of the late Dara. They have suffered enough through the loss of Dara without having to deal with this. Just to say that the Garda Síochána have codes of conduct that all members of the force should be adhering to,” Minister Humphreys said on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne programme.

This is wrong. It shouldn’t have happened and under Coco’s law – that was introduced by the government last year – the sharing of intimate images is now against the law.

Minister Humphreys added that she has not spoken to Aileen Malone or apologised to her directly.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told The Journal that the Minister will speak to Aileen “in the coming days”.

The spokesperson added: “The Department understands that both GSOC [Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission] and An Garda Síochána were in contact with Dara’s family in early 2020 and that they informed them of the outcome of the disciplinary process which took place following GSOC’s investigation into the sharing of the intimate images of Dara.”

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris wrote a letter to Malone apologising for the “unacceptable breach of trust” by a member of the police force.

Extracts of the letter were read by Malone during yesterday’s inquest. It said that the actions of the garda “grossly breached Dara’s constitutional and data protection rights in a manner that amounted to an unacceptable breach of trust and privacy,” The Irish Times reported.

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A spokesperson for the gardaí said today that the content of the Commissioner’s apology is private to the family of Dara Quigley.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) didn’t move to prosecute the garda who recorded the footage but they did resign before disciplinary proceedings concluded.

Minister Humphreys said Commissioner Harris has established an anti-corruption unit in An Garda Síochána and the force has published policies and procedures around abuse of power for sexual gain which covers all members.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
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  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
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About the author:

Céimin Burke

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