Corrupt gardai 'turning blind eye' to drug abuse by public figures
Gerry Ryan among the big names protected as dealer to the stars is allowed to stay trading
Published 19/12/2010 | 05:00
SENIOR figures in the gardai and Department of Justice privately believe that a small number of corrupt gardai in Dublin have protected rich and public figures with drug habits, including Gerry Ryan, it has been learned.
No official investigation is under way but one senior source spoke last week about an instance of a known drug dealer, working for the 'Fat' Freddie Thompson network in Dublin, who was supplying well-known figures in the media. He said intelligence suggested that "half" of the dealer's trade was "into RTE".
The source also named one person close to Gerry Ryan who was being supplied by the same dealer with half an ounce of cocaine a week, a life-wrecking level of abuse. Detectives had planned to arrest the buyer, more out of concern for their well-being, but were warned off, it appears. It also appears the dealer was allowed to continue his trade while under the protection of possibly corrupt gardai who defended him by claiming him as a valuable intelligence source.
Ryan himself would have been one of the recipients of this dealer's drugs, but gardai say he probably had other sources because of his links to other rich cocaine users.
According to a reliable source last week, the names of two innocent gardai, who had previously investigated drugs in Dublin's "high society" and whose careers were almost ruined by false and malicious allegations, were mentioned as an example of what might happen if the investigation into the protected "dealer to the stars" went ahead.
Another senior source pointed to particular Dublin gardai, now retired, who had maintained lifestyles way beyond the measure of their official salaries. The gardai were regularly in the background at high society events in Dublin, mingling with celebrities widely know to be using cocaine and other drugs.
Another retired garda detective who spoke to the Sunday Independent said he knew of prominent people with drug habits being protected back as far as the 1980s. During that period, one of his colleagues found himself in a severely embarrassing situation when a file in regard to importing drugs was interfered with and could not proceed in court. It was believed the interference was by other gardai suspected of taking bribes.
In another case in south Dublin in the early 1990s, another investigation file into another powerful showbusiness figure was allegedly "disappeared" after it was widely believed within the force, there was an intervention by Charlie Haughey. Had the file not "disappeared" there could have been a major public scandal.
Gardai who spoke to the Sunday Independent last week said that at the core of the issue of protecting high-profile drug abusers is the continuing political control of the Garda Siochana. Detectives in Dublin confirm that they know the clubs, restaurants and hotels where cocaine continues to be abused as well as the public personalities involved. However, they admit there has been an unofficial "blind eye" on such places and persons, as there is a fear of powerful political and money links to figures either serving or retired, but still with influence, within the force.
Gardai say that fear of being "set up" with allegations of corruption by other corrupt gardai is a major factor in officers shying away from probing into the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Dublin. One source said: "You wonder when you come across a colleague having a piss in the jacks with (naming a well-known figure believed to be a cocaine user)."
The issue of corruption involving the private control of informants was central to the findings of the Morris Tribunal into events involving the gardai in Donegal. Judge Morris ruled that all "covert human intelligence sources", are to be handled by tightly controlled central 'CHIS' units -- in Dublin based in two suburban stations.
However, sources tell the Sunday Independent that in certain cases gardai have been known to circumvent the official directions on handling alleged informants and that in some cases there have been suspicions of corruption -- combined with perception of political or other powerful protection.
The revelation about Gerry Ryan's long-standing cocaine habit has provoked debate within the gardai, many of whom say they hope it will lead to a change in the practice of turning a blind eye to the drug taking of the rich and powerful.