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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Assistant Commissioner leading inquiry is well respected and widely experienced

Award: Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Award: Garda Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The investigation of alleged corruption by Garda members is not Assistant Commissioner John O'Driscoll's first taste of inquiring into suspected wrongdoing in the force.

Twenty eight years ago, Mr O'Driscoll was appointed to look into allegations of wrongdoing in the running of the Garda Representative Association.

This investigation was established after members of the association's central executive committee walked into Mountjoy and made complaints against other committee members.

The complaints arose at a time of internal strife in the rank and file association, which resulted in the creation of a breakaway group that became known as the Garda Federation.

The investigation resulted in a file being sent to the DPP, who ruled that there was no evidence to warrant a criminal prosecution.

Inquiring into allegations of wrongdoing against gardaí is currently part of the brief of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), one of several units that come under the command of Mr O'Driscoll as head of special crime operations. His brief also includes overall responsibility for the units dealing with drugs, fraud, and immigration.

Since he joined the force, he has built up a reputation for being a "good police officer" and widely experienced in various aspects of the job.

In 1997, a New York-based, not-for-profit organisation, comprised mainly of judges and commercial figures, awarded Mr O'Driscoll the 'law enforcement, respect for law' award in recognition of how he performed his duties.

The anti-corruption brief of the NBCI is not confined to suspected corruption in the Garda but also deals with allegations of wrongdoing against government ministers and other politicians, State officials allegedly involved in offences ranging from fisheries and beef fraud to environmental crime and irregularities in the issuing of passports.

NBCI is under the immediate control of Det Chief Supt Walter O'Sullivan, and his team will continue to investigate these allegations after the new anti-corruption unit in the Garda force is set up later this year. The new unit will focus on gathering intelligence but will leave the investigations with NBCI before an assessment is made next year on whether its role should be expanded.

Irish Independent

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