Thursday 14 December 2017

Controversy and clashes linked to past garda chiefs' resignations

Tom Brady and Dearbhail McDonald

THREE previous garda commissioners either resigned or were sacked from the top post as a result of major controversies.

In 1983, Patrick McLaughlin opted to stand down after the incoming Fine Gael-Labour government expressed fears that some within Fianna Fail had engaged in widespread tapping of phones belonging to politicians and journalists.

According to documents published last year, the new justice minister Michael Noonan was briefed that his predecessor, Sean Doherty, had cited subversive contacts as the pretext for the phone taps, but there was no evidence of that in relation to the two journalists involved, Bruce Arnold and Geraldine Kennedy.

The documents showed that Mr McLaughlin had no knowledge of a miniature tape recorder being supplied by the gardai to Fianna Fail's Ray MacSharry to allow him tape a conversation with Dr Martin O'Donoghue in 1982.

In 1978, Commissioner Edmund "Ned" Garvey was relieved of his duties by the incoming Fianna Fail government. Mr Garvey had become involved in a controversy over the alleged activities of a garda "heavy gang".

But he later brought his case before the courts and was awarded substantial financial compensation over the way he had been treated.

In 1933, Taoiseach Eamon de Valera dismissed Eoin O'Duffy as Garda Commissioner. Mr de Valera claimed Mr O'Duffy was "likely to be biased in his attitude because of past political affiliations".

But it was later claimed that Mr de Valera feared Mr O'Duffy had been quietly encouraging a military coup to oust the incoming Fianna Fail government.

Irish Independent

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