Monday 23 October 2017

Garda in GSOC probe was cleared of wrongdoing

The late Sgt Michael Galvin
The late Sgt Michael Galvin

Greg Harkin

A Garda sergeant took his own life not knowing he had already been cleared by a Gsoc investigation because he hadn't been told at that stage, an investigation has concluded.

Supreme Court Judge Mr Justice Frank Clarke was asked to conduct the inquiry after the Irish Independent revealed within days of Sgt Michael 'Mick' Galvin's funeral the officer had been cleared prior to his death.

The Gsoc criminal investigation was launched on January 1 last year when Sheena Stewart (33) died after being struck by a taxi in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, earlier that day.

Sgt Galvin and two other gardaí who had met interaction with Ms Stewart before her death were interviewed by Gsoc investigators.

Colleagues were furious that Sgt Galvin, a former senior footballer and hurler for Sligo and a father-of-three who lived in Manorhamilton, Co Sligo, was unaware he had been cleared.

Judge Clarke concluded yesterday in his report that Gsoc investigating officer Daniel Gallagher had decided Sgt Galvin should not face prosecution on May 21 last year, the day after Sgt Galvin had given Gsoc a statement in Dublin.

The recommendation was sent to Gsoc's legal affairs department. Six days later Niamh McKeague from the department emailed Gallagher to says she agrees there is insufficient evidence of any offence but McKeague "suggests that a file should, nonetheless, be sent to the DPP".

The next morning Sgt Galvin's body was found in Ballyshannon Garda Station.

Judge Clarke said Gsoc had taken a decision to conduct a criminal investigation within 30 minutes of being informed of the case. This decision he said was 'mistaken'. The judge said Sgt Galvin and two colleagues were not initially informed they were the subject of a criminal investigation. Judge Clarke said Gsoc should now consider whether it is appropriate to send files to the DPP on all cases involving a death.

Irish Independent

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