A GARDA detective has been suspended for allegedly intimidating a senior official in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The serving detective sergeant was arrested last Friday by officers investigating a series of anonymous abusive emails sent to the official.
The Irish Independent has learnt that the 46-year-old officer is also being investigated in relation to a campaign of alleged intimidation and harassment directed against neighbours over a number of years.
The arrest last week came as a result of a top secret probe by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) since the beginning of the year.
It is understood the official in the DPP's office was deeply upset by the tone and content of the emails which began arriving last December.
The official made an official complaint to gardai who immediately launched an investigation. It is understood that officers eventually identified their colleague when they traced back the origins of the messages through a maze of false web addresses.
As a consequence of the probe detectives then became aware of harassment complaints made against the same officer by some neighbours. In one case the HSE investigated an innocent couple for child abuse after receiving an anonymous email containing malicious allegations which proved to be completely false.
Neighbours have also told gardai that they were the victims of outrageous allegations and abuse in anonymous letters, emails and posters which were put up on lamp posts in the area where they live.
Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered the suspension of the officer from duty last Friday pending the outcome of the ongoing enquiry.
The detective was questioned and released without charge and a file is now being prepared for the DPP.
During the arrest, gardai seized a number of items including a computer which is currently being analysed.
In a separate development, the Irish Independent can reveal that officers are now probing a possible link between the suspended garda and dozens of anonymous poison pen letters which have been posted to individual gardai, politicians and journalists over the past several months.
The letters, which were printed on headed paper purporting to come from the garda's Human Resource Management section, contain vile and malicious allegations of wrongdoing by several senior officers.