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Sunday 25 June 2017

Two gardai have been suspended for the past seven years, admits Fitzgerald

Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald

Gordon Deegan

Two of the 25 gardai currently suspended from duty have been in that position for the past seven years.

A spokesman for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) described the seven-year delay in disciplinary proceedings as "nothing short of scandalous".

In a letter to Solidarity TD Richard Boyd Barrett - on foot of a Dail question - Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald confirmed one garda sergeant has been suspended from duty since March 9, 2010, and another garda has been suspended since June 29, 2010.

Ms Fitzgerald also confirmed a prison officer has been suspended from duty on full pay since July 8, 2010, and has been paid €320,661 in salary to date.

The Tanaiste confirmed that a further three gardai have been suspended since 2012, with two more gardai and a sergeant suspended since 2013.

Two gardai and a reserve garda have been suspended since 2014, with another six gardai suspended since 2015.

Last year, four rank and file gardai were suspended from duty, along with one garda reserve and a sergeant.

A further two gardai have been suspended this year.

The amount paid out to the suspended gardai since their suspensions from 2010 to February this year was estimated to be between €1.3m and €2m.

The estimate was based on published pay scales and suspended members receiving 75pc of their pay - though from January 31 of this year, suspended gardai remain on full basic pay after lobbying from the GRA.

"Delay defeats equity and there is no greater example than a seven-year delay, which does a disservice not just to the member and his family but to the disciplinary mechanisms of the entire force," a GRA spokesman said.

"Such delays are entirely avoidable if the basic rules of fairness and natural justice are adhered to, as well as normative employment practices - as would be the case in any organisation."

Ms Fitzgerald said suspension in any particular case is a matter for the Garda Commissioner "and it would not be appropriate for me, as minister, to comment on individual cases".

"A person is entitled to due process, presumed innocent until proven guilty and therefore can't be punished by removing pay," the Department of Justice said.

Herald

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