Friday 19 December 2014

No permanent detective appointed to controversial division in 20 years – GRA

Published 19/06/2014 | 02:30

GRA general secretary PJ Stone
GRA general secretary PJ Stone

A GARDA representative leader has accused the authorities of failing to appoint permanent detectives for the past 20 years in a division that has been dogged by controversy.

The Cavan-Monaghan division is at the centre of allegations made by whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe and investigated in the Guerin Report.

The report raised serious questions about the investigation of crimes that had been reported to gardai.

But according to the general secretary of the Garda Representative Association, PJ Stone, it did not highlight the lack of permanent detectives in the division. Mr Stone described this as an irregularity that needed explanation.

He said it was clear from the report that many of the original investigations were conducted by inexperienced probationer gardai with little, or none, of the appropriate supervisory or management guidance.

"Experienced detectives would, in any other garda division, normally have investigated all of these cases.

"Yet, for a period of 20 years, no permanent detectives were appointed in the Cavan-Monaghan garda division," said Mr Stone.

He said the Guerin Report time and again noted "poor guidance and leadership" and surprise that not only were matters of gravity left entirely in the hands of inexperienced probationers but that the only disciplinary proceedings were against those probationers.

One report from the Garda Ombudsman Commission had suggested disciplinary procedures against supervisors but none were taken.

Too often, the report pointed to the absence of proper management, Mr Stone said.

He pointed out that the Bailieboro district was often the first appointment for superintendents on promotion and there was no inspector there to support them, "leaving the management bereft of stability, continuity and experience".

"There were long absences of supervision and management as a result. Now, when the organisation has been widely criticised, it is the junior members involved who have been most affected."

Probationers

Commenting on garda management, he said that the probationers had been "forsaken, betrayed and pilloried by those who had a duty of care towards them".

His association, he said, had continually raised concerns over the lack of supervision of young, inexperienced gardai, resulting in them becoming subject to disciplinary regulations through no fault of their own.

He said Guerin had raised many serious questions that must be answered by garda management.

Irish Independent

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