independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Real life garda on Love/Hate ‘disappointed’ with internal probe

Kieran O’Reilly being investigated for a possible breach of discipline as he stars as a garda in new series of popular drama

Kieran O' Reilly as Detective Ciaran Madden
Kieran O' Reilly as Detective Ciaran Madden

THE drugs squad detective who plays the part of an undercover officer in 'Love/Hate' is "disappointed" that he's being investigated for a possible breach of garda discipline.

Kieran O'Reilly, a member of the Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU), is starring as garda Ciaran Madden in the new series of the gang-based drama.

Mr O'Reilly's friend Steve Wrenn has told independent.ie the undercover officer never expected An Garda Siochana to react with disciplinary proceedings.

Steve Wrenn said: "He's very disappointed at the way it's been handled in the garda organisation I suppose. He didn't expect to be threatened with a disciplinary procedure."

"He's in good form but he's disappointed and he's said he's going to play ball with the garda organisation. He's very professional and he's going to do what he's told to do - either from a Love Hate point of view, or from a garda point of view."

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered an internal disciplinary inquiry into the officer's involvement in the hit RTE show last week.

Under the Garda Code, acting is not a prohibited extra-curricular activity and it is understood that the officer took part in filming while on official leave earlier this year.

Mr Wrenn, a former Dublin city councillor, insists he will escalate the issue to Government level if the Commissioner carries out disciplinary proceedings.

"I'm not a Labour councillor anymore but I keep in touch with people on the highest level of Government and they're keeping an eye on it, and if anything happens they're going to raise it. They think this is just a knee-jerk reaction by the gardai."

"I've known Kieran a long, long time. He's one of the most dedicated and decent people you'd come across. He's got oodles of talent as evidenced by his acting."

"I'm shocked at how he's been treated. I'd urge the Commissioner to jump on a good news story and support him," Mr Wrenn added.

"This storyline is definitely positive, and I'm shocked to think that after the show on the Monday, news broke that it appeared they'd served him with papers."

Mr Wrenn has advised gardai to look to police in New York and Britain for inspiration on how to deal with police officers appearing on film.

"In New York, over the past ten years they've done all sorts of policing programmes, and the first thing they do is work with the film crews and agencies. The English police did the same with The Bill."

"Yet the garda organisation is running wild from things like that. The Commissioner needs to work with this. It normalises what the gardai do."

"I'd like to see [gardai] saying they support Kieran in his role and that the gardai can work together with any film company so that the organisation can be portrayed in a positive light."

Meanwhile, Mr O'Reilly, is hopeful that the issue is resolved very soon.

Mr Wrenn said: "He's the type of guy who loves his job. He's very professional and very dedicated. And he hasn't been working in that line - as an undercover guard - for over a year, so he's not a risk to anyone."

"He wants to see it resolved, and fairly quickly. He needs to enjoy the attention he's been getting."

By Geraldine Gittens

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