Sunday 18 March 2018

Driver in death crash was Policing Authority intern

Law student worked on Garda ethics during probe

Susan Gleeson wrote a blog about her work placement while she
was being investigated by the gardaí. Photo: Cork Courts Limited
Susan Gleeson wrote a blog about her work placement while she was being investigated by the gardaí. Photo: Cork Courts Limited
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

A law student being investigated for dangerous driving causing death was able to undertake a placement at the Policing Authority and work on proposed new Garda ethics.

The revelation came as the Policing Authority (PA) admitted vetting procedures for student placements would not detect anyone who was the focus of an ongoing Garda investigation.

But the PA insisted that students did not have access to confidential material.

Susan Gleeson (21), who received a three-year suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing the death of a mother and daughter last Christmas, undertook a placement with the authority while she was the focus on a Garda investigation into the accident.

Gleeson, a law student at the University of Limerick, later posted a blog about her experience and included the PA logo in her posting.

The matter was brought to the attention of the family of Geraldine (58) and Louise (22) Clancy who died after their car was struck by a vehicle being driven by Gleeson along the R666 in north Cork on December 22, 2015.

Both drowned after their vehicle then overturned into a flooded dyke.

The student, a next-door neighbour to the Clancy family, was also disqualified from driving for 15 years. She had misjudged a blind junction and failed to give way.

Gleeson broke down in court as she apologised to the Clancy family, saying: "There are no words to say how sorry I am. There is not a day that I don't think about it and the heartache I have caused them."

In the PA blog, Ms Gleeson wrote: "On my first day here at the PA in Dublin it was extremely exciting yet nerve-wracking. As a law student this experience is an amazing opportunity to work alongside other professionals and aiding them to draw up a code of ethics for the Garda Síochána."

A PA spokesperson said; "Anyone who is employed by the PA, be it in a temporary or permanent position, is subject to vetting.

"However, the existence of an ongoing Garda investigation where an individual has not been charged would not be detected through a vetting process.

"Due to the research nature of the work assigned, any intern working at the PA does not have access to confidential or sensitive material.

"The authority became aware of the blog post in late July. We requested that the information be taken down immediately and this was done."

Irish Independent

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