Updated: 16/11/16 : 06:30:30
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TD makes protective disclosure over GSOC inaction

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny has made a protected disclosure to the Minister for Justice in relation to Garda behaviour in the Leitrim area.

He made a statement in the Dáil on May 26th which outlined many issues, most of which centre around issues of “inappropriate use of informants”.

The Irish Times reported that Mr Kenny told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this week: “I’m only talking about a very small handful of people who are carrying out this kind of activity and have done so in the past – the vast majority of gardaí working in this district and across the country are doing so diligently – they are hard-working and want to do their best, it’s in their interest, as much anyone else’s, that we need to get these issues resolved.”

The TD, who represents Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal, said last June he visited the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and its chairwoman Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring “told me that there was one aspect of one of the issues that I’d raised that had been inquired into by GSOC – all the other stuff had not been looked at by GSOC at all.

“She pointed out that there were legislative constraints why they couldn’t do so. There was time limits, there was all sorts of things, including the resources they had that barred them from looking into the issues I had raised.

“GSOC has not looked into the vast majority of the issues I raised on May 26th. Since then, I have made a protected disclosure which I felt was a more official way of doing it, to make sure there was pressure on the Minister [for Justice] to get these issues resolved and looked into.

No reaction

“Within three weeks, in June, I was visited in Leinster House by two senior gardaí, I gave them full details of all the issues I was raising, I gave them names, addresses, documents.

“They assured me they were very concerned that they wanted to get this issue resolved and I believed them. They said they would quickly go and speak to the complainants and that they would quickly investigate these matters, that they were very concerned about them.

“That was six months ago and practically nothing has happened since, they haven’t spoken to any of the complainants, they haven’t done anything to resolve this issue.”

Mr Kenny said that he felt making a protected disclosure to the Minister for Justice was the only option at this stage.

“The first thing in these cases is that you’d go to the gardaí themselves and get them to look into it. The complainants who spoke to me did that – years ago, they went to the [Garda] Commissioner at the time, to the Minister for Justice at the time – Alan Shatter.

“They spoke to a whole range of people in the gardaí, all of whom gave them great sympathy and said it would be looked into, but nothing has been looked into and nothing has happened since. That’s why I raised the issue in the Dáil. Nothing has happened since.”

He added there had been no reaction so far to protected disclosure.

“I don’t know what will happen now. I hope that something will move on it. What I have looked for, from the beginning, is a Commission of Inquiry to be put in place to look at all these issues.”