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Dysfunctional garda district at the heart of Guerin Report to face detailed probe

The terms of reference for the investigation have been published.

(File photo)
(File photo)
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

GARDA INVESTIGATIONS INTO sexual assaults, imprisonment, driving offences and child pornography in the Cavan/Monaghan area are all to be looked at by a former High Court judge.

The Commission of Investigation was recommended by the Guerin Report and will have Justice Kevin O’Higgins as its sole member.

The probe comes after the report broke down a range of dysfunctional investigations in the district in 20007 and 2008. It includes the case of Jerry McGrath who murdered Sylvia Roche-Kelly while on bail for attempting to kidnap a five-year-old girl from her bed.

The commission will look at the decision to award bail in this case and the alleged mishandling of an earlier investigation into an assault by McGrath on taxi driver Mary Lynch in Cavan in 2007.

The draft order for the judge’s examination has been published by the Government and is expected to report back within a year of its establishment.

As well as the McGrath case, the commission will will examine the following garda investigations in the Cavan/Monaghan division:

  • A possible sexual assault on a bus in Kingscourt in February 2007.
  • An assault at the Lakeside Manor Hotel in April 2007.
  • A public order incident in Cafolla’s restaurant in Bailieboro in August 2007.
  • The assault and false imprisonment of a girl in Cootehill in September 2007.
  • An assault at a pub in Bailieboro in May 2007.
  • Michael Molloy’s 2009 conviction for child pornography and sexual offences and the subsequent loss of a computer seized during the investigation.
  • Allegations by Sergeant Maurice McCabe of malpractice and corruption in relation to PULSE records seized from him.

The commission will also look at the investigations by both the gardaí and the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter into complaints made by McCabe.

The Guerin Report itself had detailed a range of issues with policing at Bailieboro Garda District and O’Higgins report will carry out a specific investigation into “the conduct of policing” in the district.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says all of the matters recommend for investigation by the Guerin Report are included in the terms of reference published today.

“The Government has accepted Mr. Guerin’s recommendation that a Commission of Investigation would be desirable in the public interest to ensure continuing confidence in the institution of An Garda Síochána and the criminal justice system,” she said.

Originally published 22.57pm

Read: ‘Is someone afraid of the truth? Because frontline gardaí aren’t’ >

Read: Gardaí have been ‘incalculably’ damaged by delay in investigation of ‘garda misconduct’ >

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Rónán Duffy

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