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Garda's top civilian called on to clarify committee evidence


Joe Nugent gave testimony that has been disputed

Joe Nugent gave testimony that has been disputed

Joe Nugent gave testimony that has been disputed

One of the most senior civilians in An Garda Síochána has been called upon to clarify evidence he gave at an Oireachtas committee - which has since been contradicted by the Policing Authority.

Labour Party TD Alan Kelly last night said he is both "surprised and bemused" that the chief administrative officer of the force Joe Nugent has given testimony that has been disputed.

Mr Nugent, an ally of former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that management failed to provide a written report on the use of the Gmail account by Ms O'Sullivan, which was the subject of major controversy.

The report itself was requested by the Policing Authority at a meeting with management in December 2016. But Mr Nugent - who examined the use of the Gmail account by the former Commissioner - told TDs and senators at the committee earlier this month that no report was provided.

He instead said a verbal report was provided. This claim was disputed in a statement given by the Policing Authority to the Irish Independent.

"Consequent to the detailed discussions at the authority's meeting in public in November 2016, regarding email/ICT usage and security, a short report was received from the Garda Síochána on January 25, 2017, just in advance of the authority's meeting," the statement said.

Last night, Mr Kelly criticised the failure by Mr Nugent to address the apparent flaw in his evidence.

"I am both bemused and confused that the evidence given by Mr Nugent has apparently been contradicted by the Policing Authority," the Tipperary TD told the Irish Independent.

"It is essential - in the interests of full clarity and transparency - that Mr Nugent addresses this apparent contradiction as a matter of urgency."

Queries to the Garda Press Office about the apparent contradiction once again yielded no response last night.

Instead, the press office released a brief statement, which said a report on a revised email policy for the force will be provided to the Policing Authority before the end of the year.

"An Garda Síochána is currently finalising a draft Internet and Email Policy. It is expected that the final draft will be forwarded to the Policing Authority for consideration by year end," the statement said.

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In the statement this week, the Policing Authority said it was "disappointed" at the length of time it has taken for the new Gmail policy to be released.

"The Garda Commissioner was requested to provide detailed timelines for the publication of a new email policy and for the implementation of certain technical solutions identified in the report," it said.

"The authority is disappointed that the new email policy has not yet been published by the Garda Síochána and it continues to press for this to be done," the statement added.

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