Saturday 27 August 2016

Garda told by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan he would be 'sacked' for accessing Pulse records, High Court hears

Ray Managh and Aodhan O’Faolain

Published 24/04/2014 | 17:55

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was one of the gardai drafted in from uniformed duties in Blanchardstown to the Tango Squad
Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was one of the gardai drafted in from uniformed duties in Blanchardstown to the Tango Squad

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told a member of the force he would be sacked for breaches of indiscipline, including accessing Pulse records, the High Court has been told.

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Garda Colm O’Flaherty, of Anglesea Street Garda Station, Cork, was granted leave by Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to judicially challenge the then Commissioner’s decision and a number of other proposed punishments including suspension from duty and a cut in pay.

Barrister Kieran Kelly told the court that Commissioner Callinan had told Garda O’Flaherty that if he did not resign he would be dismissed from the force in relation to the alleged breaches of discipline.

He said a number of allegations had been levelled at Garda O’Flaherty and, following a hearing by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission a Board of Inquiry had been set up to inquire into four alleged breaches of discipline.

Mr Kelly said the Board had reported in September last year and, despite recommending a monetary fine, the Commissioner had told Garda O’Flaherty to resign or be dismissed.

The court heard that on September 4 last following negotiations and an agreement entered into with a Garda Superintendent, who had been a member of the inquiry board, Garda O’Flaherty had entered guilty pleas as required to the breaches of discipline alleged against him.

The guilty pleas had been tendered in the specific circumstances where it was understood the Superintendant involved had contacted Garda Headquarters and had obtained assurances.

The Superintendant had assured Garda O’Flaherty’s solicitor that he had it “guaranteed from the top” that in the event of the guilty pleas there would be only a monetary penalty.

Mr Kelly told the court that the former Garda Commissioner had determined that the penalty for four of eight breaches of discipline should be that Garda O’Flaherty resign from An Garda Siochana in lieu of dismissal and in the event of his failure to do so he would be dismissed.

He said no reasons had been provided by Mr Callinan for his decision.

Judge Hogan said he would grant Garda O’Flaherty leave to seek to judicially review the decisions made against him.  The court was satisfied that Garda O’Flaherty had raised an arguable case and granted a stay on any further procedures taking place arising out of the decisions taken.

The matter was adjourned until April 30th.

Irish Independent

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