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Dublin: 21°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

A garda whistleblower submitted a protected disclosure 3 years ago - she's still waiting on a response

She alleged serious wrongdoing by a senior officer.

Image: Sam Boal

A GARDA WHISTLEBLOWER who submitted a protected disclosure alleging egregious malpractice within one garda station at the start of 2016 is still waiting for her case to be dealt with.

The garda has been out on stress leave since making the official protected disclosure in 2016. Garda human resource management carried out an investigation and have sent a file to the Garda Commissioner’s office. The senior officers allegedly involved in a number of problematic activities have not been subject to any disciplinary proceedings.

The claims of malpractice centre around a garda station district headquarters, which cannot be identified for legal reasons.

In recent weeks, the garda was cleared of a separate disciplinary matter. She had been accused of improperly fining a superior officer for a minor traffic offence. 

But it is now three years since the garda has signed off on sick leave and there has been no change in her case. 

According to An Garda Síochána’s own rules for dealing with a protected disclosure (which can be found here): “An Garda Síochána is committed to ensuring that a worker who makes a protected disclosure (the discloser) is kept fully informed of the progress of any investigation arising from the disclosure and ensuring that the result of any such investigation is communicated to the worker who made the disclosure.”

The garda whistleblower alleges that prior to her leave:

  • She was disciplined after finding a weapon in her district
  • Officers were instructed to purposely input inaccurate data into the Garda Pulse system to protect a criminal informant
  • Senior gardaí failed to tell her that a criminal who threatened her was believed to be in possession of a handgun

In her statement to gardaí, the garda says the station is being run as if it’s the personal police force of some of the senior gardaí in the area. 

Gardaí being off on sick leave for extended periods is not new but, according to informed sources, is proof that the system of dealing with wrongdoing in the force is nowhere near fixed. 

Garda Nicky Kehoe was a drugs unit officer in Athlone when he made a formal complaint in 2014 to the confidential recipient, Judge Patrick McMahon, about garda collusion in the sale and supply of heroin in the region. He alleged that people in the town, who were not previously involved in criminality, were coerced into buying drugs in an attempt to boost drug-unit statistics. 

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Garda Keogh has been on sick leave for several years due to alleged harassment from senior management after he made his complaints. 

Responding for comment on the protocols in place to deal with disclosure, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said: “The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 does not specify a timeframe in which a protected disclosure must be dealt with.

“The department deals with all protected disclosures in accordance with the provisions of the Act taking into account the individual nature of each such disclosure and the complexities which they present.

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