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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Gardai claim top brass didn't tell them of danger from informant

Paul Williams

Published 05/06/2014 | 07:17

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Missing Leitrim man Patrick Heeran (48) who disappeared from his home at Aughavas, Co Leitrim in October 2011.
Missing Leitrim man Patrick Heeran (48) who disappeared from his home at Aughavas, Co Leitrim in October 2011.
Patrick Heeran.jpg
Patrick Heeran.jpg

TWO gardai have claimed that senior management failed to inform them about a serious threat to their safety because the criminal targeting them was allegedly working as an "off-the-books" informant.

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Instead they say that the informant -- who is a suspect in the disappearance of a Leitrim man -- was protected by other officers.

It is claimed that the homes of the two gardai were monitored by a three-man gang who were prepared to attack them and damage their property.

The west of Ireland criminals have been the subject of several investigations by the officers, one of whom recently retired and the other who is a serving sergeant.

The gang's ringleader is suspected of being involved in the disappearance of Patrick Heeran, who vanished from his home at Aughavas, Co Leitrim, in October 2011.

Mr Heeran's family and local gardai believe that the 48-year-old unemployed bachelor was murdered and his body hidden.

PL2185789@June 2, 2014Missi.jpg 

Missing man Patrick Heeran

Search

A large search continued for a number of months after Mr Heeran disappeared but it proved fruitless. It is thought he may have been killed over a drugs debt.

Recently gardai based at Carrick-on-Shannon station conducted fresh searches in the Belturbet area of Cavan with negative results.

The two gardai complainants now say that a suspect should have been arrested but was instead overlooked by officers. They say that the suspect has intimidated them before and since Mr Heeran's disappearance.

Reliable information was received in January 2009 that the gang members had carried out a number of "reconnaissance missions" on the homes of the two officers.

The two gardai who have made a number of other allegations of malpractice say they do not wish to be described as "whistleblowers" but as "complainants".

It is understood that the officers furnished comprehensive statements of complaint to the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in 2011.

The wife of the garda sergeant also made a complaint to GSOC alleging that three senior officers had not informed her husband of what was a real threat to their safety and that of their family.

However, it is understood that GSOC gave the complaint back to the gardai for investigation.

The two officers brought their concerns to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins in April.

Mr Higgins passed on the information to the former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who appointed a senior member of his staff to liaise with the gardai. It is understood that following Mr Shatter's resignation, there was no further contact from the official, but Mr Higgins has since sent a dossier on the allegations to his successor, Frances Fitzgerald.

CAPTION: Patrick Heeran, who vanished from his home in 2011.

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