Thursday 25 December 2014

Taoiseach: ‘Extremely serious’ allegations of garda misconduct contained in leaked documents

John Downing and Colm Kelpie

Published 20/02/2014 | 15:10

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny

THE Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that leaked documents containing allegations of garda misconduct are ‘extremely serious’.

The documents came into possession of Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, who brought them to the attention of the Dail.

Mr Martin claimed the documents contained allegations of misconduct in cases involving murder and kidnap.

Speaking this afternoon the Taoiseach said Mr Martin was correct to bring the document’s to the Dail’s attention.

''Last night I received documentation containing extremely serious allegations of garda misconduct. These documents are now being examined and the allegations contained therein are very grave.

''I have to say that in the case of Deputy Micheal Martin that he was right to hand over this documentation. I would say to him and to everybody else that if there is any relevant material in their possession, they should come forward and make such material as that known.

''The incidents contained in the material given to me refers to a period from 2007 through to 2008\2009. I have a duty and a responsibility to examine this documentation very carefully indeed and when I have that done I will decide in the best way that these comments and allegations can be dealt with.

''I just want you to understand that I have no intention of playing politics with an issue as serious as this. We'll deal with it in the interests of our state, of our country and of our people.''

Mr Martin today renewed calls for a commission of inquiry to examine allegations of Garda mishandling of serious crime investigations.

Amid angry scenes in Dail Eireann Mr Martin said he had even more details today of 'shocking cases' - including murder and kidnap - which raised serious questions about Garda conduct.

The FF leader said the details had been handed to Justice Minister Alan Shatter in January 2012 and he believed the Minister had read the documents - but taken no action.

"There is no doubt these shocking cases were given to the Minister for Justice two years ago.  There has to be a commission of inquiry," Mr Martin said.

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty said that so far the only person to lose their position was the so-called 'confidential recipient' Oliver Connolly, whose job it was to relay individual garda complaints to the Garda Commissioner.

Mr Doherty said it was vital to retain public confidence in the Gardaí - and a full inquiry was needed to sustain this confidence.

But replying on behalf of the Government,  Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, said the Fianna Fail leader had only handed the bulk of these matters to the Taoiseach yesterday with more documents handed over today.

Ms Burton said the Opposition must give the Taoiseach time to consider these matters which were 'a blizzard of paper'.

The Minister, also deputy Labour Party leader, also strongly signalled her party's continuing support for the embattled Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

Ms Burton said the Justice Minister had appointed an eminent former High Court judge to examine allegations of surveillance at the Garda Ombudsman Commission and also spent four years at an Oireachtas committee answering detailed questions on the matter.

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