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Gardai at centre of whistleblower claims face raft of new complaints

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Sean Guerin’s report was critical of some gardai. Picture: GERARD HORE

Sean Guerin’s report was critical of some gardai. Picture: GERARD HORE

Sean Guerin’s report was critical of some gardai. Picture: GERARD HORE

Gardai working at the station at the centre of malpractice claims by whistleblower Maurice McCabe say they have been inundated with complaints from members of the public since the publication of the controversial Guerin Report. Barrister Sean Guerin's investigation found failings in the investigation of serious crimes reported to Bailieborough Garda Station in Co Cavan.

This week, the Garda Review magazine took the unprecedented step of publishing anonymised accounts from gardai working in the station who claim their reputations have been tarnished by the report. Garda Representative Association president PJ Stone also publicly demanded that the Government establish the long-promised Commission of Inquiry to examine the allegations raised by Sgt McCabe. Sources said Bailieborough gardai broke their silence because they were being "unfairly targeted" by complaints from members of the public since Mr Guerin published his report.

"Certainly the level of complaints increased," a source told the Sunday Independent. "Gardai have to be more cautious now and cover themselves because complainants have become more active."

In the Garda Review, gardai complained that Mr Guerin did not interview anyone working in the station as part of his investigation, but spoke to Sgt McCabe for 19 hours.

Gardai also claimed they were easily identifiable from the report, even though they are not mentioned by name.

"I find it hypocritical that a person compiling a report on alleged ineffective, poor investigations by gardai did not interview all persons concerned - especially those who he found to be at fault," one garda said. Gardai are believed to be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the legal challenge by former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to the Guerin Report.

Mr Shatter is seeking a judicial review of Mr Guerin's report - and his main objection is also that he was not interview before publication.

However, sources close to Sgt McCabe said criticism of Mr Guerin's report were unfair, as he was put through a "gruelling" and "sometimes heated" interview process.

Sources close to the whistleblower insist Mr Guerin's review was based on the written accounts of victims and garda records, rather than testimony from Sgt McCabe.

Meanwhile, Sgt McCabe is working with the Garda Professional Standards Unit on a new audit of penalty point terminations. Sgt McCabe has claimed gardai continued to quash points for friends and family after he voiced his concerns about the system.

Sources told the Sunday Independent Sgt McCabe has been working directly with interim Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan's office on his new claims for almost two weeks.

Sgt McCabe claims he was contacted by garda colleagues about suspicious cancellations and he compiled a report for the Commissioner's office. The new complaints are believed to involve gardai who were named by Sgt McCabe in his original penalty point dossier.

Sunday Independent