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Sam Boal via Rolling News

110 gardaí on suspension including 17 for 'sexual offences'

Twenty three gardaí have been suspended so far this year.

ONE HUNDRED AND ten gardaí are currently suspended from the force with 17 on suspension under the heading of ‘sexual offences’.

That is according to new figures provided by Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee who revealed that 23 gardaí have been suspended to date this year.

If the rate of suspensions for 2022 continues for the second half of the year, it will be a record amount of gardaí suspended in one year.

Last year, Minister McEntee confirmed that there were 38 gardaí suspended and this followed 31 suspended in 2020.

The figures show one garda suspended in 2014 remains on suspension – eight years on – with two suspended in 2016 also continuing to serve their suspensions.

In a written Dáil response to Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, Minister McEntee wrote: “Every effort is made to bring disciplinary enquiries to a conclusion in the shortest timeframe. However, the complexities of some cases and legal proceedings may lead to delays in concluding the matter.”

Minister McEntee said that Garda authorities have told her that “disciplinary procedure leading to suspension is a serious matter”.

Along with sexual offences, the other chief reason for the suspension of gardaí was theft or forgery at 17 suspensions.

A further 16 were suspended for allegedly perverting the course of justice; with 13 suspended for discreditable conduct.

A further 10 were suspended under the heading of ‘drugs/misuse of drugs’ and 10 suspended under the heading of ‘domestic violence’.

Nine are currently suspended for ‘assault causing harm’, with six suspended for the misuse of accessing the Garda Info system.

Eight gardaí were suspended for allegedly driving under the influence with two suspended for the misuse of Garda resources; one for neglect of duty and one for ‘corrupt/improper practice’.

Speaking on the numbers suspended under the heading of domestic violence and sexual complaints at a Policing Authority last week, Assistant Commissioner Patrick Clavin said while the numbers are small, it has a “disproportionately detrimental impact on confidence and reputation”.

In a separate written Dáil response to Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, Minister McEntee confirmed that there are 199 members of the force on sick leave due to an injury sustained while on-duty.

Minister McEntee said that “injury on duty records are not solely related to injuries arising from attacks on Garda members”.

She said that to ensure that they can safely and effectively carry out their statutory and common-law duties, Gardaí are trained in arrest and restraint techniques and they are provided with personal protective equipment that include ballistic stab vest, asp baton, incapacitant spray and rigid handcuffs.