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Gardaí to investigate claims of covering up high-profile drug use

Gardaí have denied that they concealed the activities of high-profile drug abusers and say an investigation will be launched into the allegations raised yesterday by the Sunday Independent.
Dec 20th 2010, 8:42 AM 671 0

GARDAÍ HAVE ISSUED a denial in relation to yesterday’s claims by a Sunday newspaper that the force covered up for high-profile drug abusers, and said it will launch a full investigation into the allegations which, it claims, are “without any apparent grounding in fact”.

The gardaí have said they intend to interview Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning and journalist Jim Cusack in relation to the story, which quoted a anonymous senior garda source and said that “a small number of corrupt gardaí in Dublin have protected rich and public figures with drug habits, including Gerry Ryan”.

The Irish Times reports that Fanning said the report was based on “exhaustive inquiries” over the past 10 days. RTÉ reports that the newspaper will not be commenting further at this point.

In a statement, the Garda Press Office said that it had “no knowledge of any senior gardaí or officials who hold such views”, and added that “none of the assertions contained in the article were put to An Garda Síochána for official comment prior to publication.”

Meanwhile, RTÉ has issued a robust denial of the claims that there was a tolerance of drug abuse in the organisation, however it acknowledged that its coverage of issues around cocaine use was “less than it could have been” last week – following an inquest which heard that cocaine may have been a contributory factor in the death of broadcaster Gerry Ryan.

RTÉ  said that it had “covered the formal proceedings in news programming, as is appropriate”, and added:

The organisation however for the most part refrained from offering comment either on the proceedings or on other coverage or commentary which has flowed from it. This has been largely out of respect for our late colleague and out of sympathy and respect for his family.

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RTÉ’s head of communications Kevin Dawson said that the coverage had nothing to do with any tolerance over illegal drug use.

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Jennifer Wade

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