Gardaí are investigating serious allegations that safeguarding documentation was forged at a disability charity.
Officers seized desktop computers, laptops and files from a Camphill Communities of Ireland (CCI) premises as part of the inquiry, the Irish Independent has learned.
But the probe is set to be delayed after the charity secured a temporary High Court injunction restricting gardaí from searching the computers and files until further order of the court.
CCI secured the injunction after complaining gardaí would not agree to a protocol to safeguard "sensitive material" about service users and to determine which material is irrelevant to their probe.
The probe, which has been ongoing for several months, was launched after gardaí received three complaints.
The charity operates 17 communities in Ireland, catering for around 500 people, and is part of an international movement providing residential care services for people with intellectual disabilities.
It runs schools for children, as well as training centres and "working villages" for adults.
The computers and files were seized during a search of CCI's premises in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, by eight gardaí on December 4.
The charity says no member of staff has been arrested or questioned.
Details of the investigation emerged when the charity issued judicial review proceedings against the Garda Commissioner last week.
Detectives are examining allegations safeguarding documents and records were forged at the charity. They secured a search warrant under legislation dealing with theft and fraud offences.
In a legal filing, CCI chief executive Ann Sheehan said the charity had a duty of care "in relation to the confidentiality and dignity" of residents.
She complained gardaí initially refused to provide a copy of the search warrant and a receipt or inventory of the material seized.
Ms Sheehan said the material included individual care, medication and behavioural support plans, safeguarding documents, incident reports and staff files.
She said the charity's lawyers wrote to gardaí requesting a protocol be put in place for dealing with the material.
The letter cited a Supreme Court ruling on the obligation of law enforcement bodies to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of third parties is protected in investigations.
In her affidavit, she said it was a matter of "gravest concern" that gardaí appeared to be of the view they were under no obligation to refrain from examining the material in the absence of attempting to agree a protocol. She said the position of gardaí appeared to be that to do so would "restrict a criminal investigation".
As well as securing the temporary injunction, the charity was given leave to seek a judicial review in which it will seek declarations that the extent of the materials seized was disproportionate and that privacy rights would be breached if it was searched without "a suitable agreement". It is not yet clear if the commissioner will challenge the injunction.