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Friday 22 August 2014

Judge to consider inquiry into garda sex assault claim

Niall O'Connor

Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30

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Mr Justice Nial Fennelly. Picture: Collins Courts
Mr Justice Nial Fennelly. Picture: Collins Courts

THE senior judge appointed to head up a new Commission of Inquiry into claims of garda wrongdoing will advise the Government on whether the investigation should also examine allegations of sexual abuse by a serving garda.

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Government officials have begun preparatory work for a second statutory inquiry after it was recommended by barrister Sean Guerin following his investigation into Garda whistleblower claims.

The inquiry is separate to the one being led by Justice Nial Fennelly who will shortly begin examining the taping of phone calls at Garda stations.

While it was initially expected that the second Commission of Inquiry would examine claims of Garda wrongdoing, sources indicated last night that it will be extended to include an allegation of sexual assault by a serving garda.

The case involving a 22-year-old woman was raised in the Dail this week by former Justice Minister Alan Shatter after initially being highlighted in the Irish Independent.

The woman's claims were passed to the Taoiseach by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who met her in his Dail office six weeks ago.

The woman claims her allegations were not properly investigated by gardai and the incident was then covered up.

Investigated

It has also emerged the complaint was never recorded on the Garda Pulse system.

A new statutory inquiry has already been promised by the Government to look into Garda handling of complaints by whistleblowers of wrongdoing in investigations in several Garda divisions.

But now it has emerged that the judge appointed to head up this inquiry will consider whether it should also examine the claim of sexual abuse. Government sources said the issue will be discussed with the judge once his or her appointment is finalised.

Speaking in the Dail this week, Mr Shatter said it is important that the woman's claims are examined by an inquiry.

"There is a matter which has been the subject of articles in the Irish Independent which included a report of Micheal Martin meeting an individual who alleges she was the victim of a sexual assault and who alleges that her complaint was not recorded on Pulse nor did it result in a prosecution," he said.

"This case should clearly form part of any statutory inquiry," he added.

A spokesperson for the Fianna Fail leader said that material relating to the case was forwarded to the Taoiseach by Micheal Martin and that when sending the material, Mr Kenny was urged to include the alleged incident within the inquiry.

Irish Independent

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