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Friday 22 August 2014

Garda is accused of using racist language

Shane Phelan, Public Affairs Editor

Published 07/04/2014 | 02:30

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A Garda has been accused of using racist language. Picture posed.

GARDAI have launched an internal investigation following allegations that a senior garda used racist language to describe black people.

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The probe was launched after a claim by another garda that the officer involved, a superintendent based in Dublin, used the word "n****r" during a meeting with sergeants and inspectors.

The incident is alleged to have taken place in January.

It is alleged that the offensive language was used in the briefing and that the officer involved was advocating an increase in arrests and searches of black people in a certain area.

A spokesman for the Garda Press Office confirmed that an inquiry was under way.

"This matter is being enquired into by a chief superintendent outside of the division in question. It would be inappropriate to comment further while those enquiries are ongoing," the spokesman said.

The Irish Independent understands that the inquiry is being handled by Chief Superintendent Frank Clerkin, who is based in north Dublin.

An investigation team has already been dispatched to the garda station at the centre of the allegations and inquiries have been made with officers who were at the meeting.

It is understood the superintendent involved denies using the language complained of, and while he admits speaking about "black youths" he disputes claims the word "n*****r" was used.

The part of the city where the increased garda activity was to take place has an ethnically diverse population.

The investigation arose after a rank-and-file member of the force made a detailed series of allegations. However, the officer was not present at the time of the alleged comments, and said they heard of them from other gardai.

These allegations were forwarded to the Department of Justice, the Garda Commissioner, an assistant commissioner, a chief superintendent and to the Garda Inspectorate.

The garda claimed that as a result of the superintendent's instructions, a black male was arrested for littering within days of the alleged comments being made.

However, the Irish Independent has been unable to verify this.

It is not the first time allegations of racism within the force have been made.

The investigation comes six months after gardai faced accusations of racial profiling after children from two Roma families were temporarily taken from their parents until their identities were confirmed.

Irish Independent

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