Monday 23 April 2018

Gardai 'dealt' heroin to boost arrest rate, says whistleblower

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

A NEW garda whistleblower has alleged senior officers were involved in a plan to coerce people into buying hard drugs, including heroin, and then having them arrested so crime detection figures could be boosted.

The shock disclosure was made in the Dail by Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan.

He named the whistleblower as Nicky Keogh, a rank-and-file garda at Athlone Garda Station.

The Irish Independent has learned that Gda Keogh attempted to make a complaint to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) last week.

However, legislation prohibits GSOC from taking complaints from members of the force and Gda Keogh was advised to contact the interim confidential recipient, retired judge Patrick McMahon.

Mr Flanagan told the Dail that the garda had contacted Mr Justice McMahon, making allegations linking the force to heroin dealing.

"We have a situation here where heroin dealing and the Garda Siochana are being connected," he said.

Mr Justice McMahon is now likely to raise the issue with interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, who will have to decide whether an investigation is warranted.

Mr Flanagan said Gda Keogh was alleging a Garda cover-up, involving stolen files, a report being removed from the PULSE system, manufactured information and the failure of officers to fully comply with court orders to disclose records.

He mentioned one case in particular where it is alleged senior gardai hatched a scheme to boost drug crime detection rates.

The November 2009 operation is alleged to have involved people being coerced into buying drugs only to find themselves being arrested and prosecuted.

Mr Flanagan said there was a systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking officers to "induce and coerce people with no previous criminal convictions to buy drugs from drug dealers, in doing so, putting them in personal danger".

The TD alleged that in turn these people "sold the drugs to undercover gardai without making any profit, thus boosting crime detection figures for arrest".

The TD described Gda Keogh as "a hero" for coming forward with his complaint.

Mr Flanagan said the garda had been left with no choice but to go public given the "gaping hole" in legislation which meant GSOC could not investigate the matter.

A garda spokesman said: "The use by any member of An Garda Siochana of the confidential recipient mechanism is a confidential process and, as such, we are not in a position to comment on it at this stage.".

However, he said the Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has said that "any member of An Garda Siochana who wants to raise an issue or concern will be supported in doing so".

Irish Independent

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