Q&A: Tom Brady on what you need to know about the three Garda arrests
Inquiry underlines commitment to tackling wrongdoing, whenever or wherever it's alleged to have taken place
How significant are these arrests and what next? Tom Brady tells us everything we need to know.
How significant are the three Garda arrests in the corruption investigation?
These arrests represent a major development in an investigation into allegations that strike at the core of An Garda Síochána as a police force.
Apart from significance in this lengthy inquiry into suspected links with gangland, they also underline the commitment given by the force to the public that it will tackle wrongdoing whenever or wherever it is alleged to have taken place, even if it could involve some of its own members.
Are there likely to be more arrests in this case?
Yes. We can expect a number of suspected members of an organised crime gang to be arrested for questioning and there is a strong possibility that further arrests of gardaí could take place.
How many arrests have been made so far in this investigation?
Five arrests, including one garda who has been detained twice for questioning about different offences.
What are the offences alleged to have been committed by the three gardaí arrested yesterday?
The superintendent was arrested on suspicion of passing information obtained in the course of carrying out his duties to another person, knowing that the information was likely to have a harmful effect. The inspector was detained for an alleged breach of the Misuse of Drugs Act. The detective garda was arrested and questioned about a suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Has the force a good track record for arresting its own members, if this is deemed relevant to an investigation?
Yes. Gardaí have been arrested in connection with inquiries into a variety of offences, ranging from supplying information to criminals and terrorists, to passing documents or verbal communications to the media, possessing child porn, supplying driving licences, to rape.
Who was the last officer to be detained for questioning?
Former Garda press officer Superintendent Dave Taylor, who was accused of illegal disclosure of information obtained in the course of his duties. He was released without charge. A former detective sergeant was also accused of passing a confidential document to a news reporter.
Were there other members of senior rank arrested or dismissed in the recent past?
Yes. Former superintendent Kevin Lennon was dismissed from the force by the government in 2004 after he was found by the Morris tribunal to have orchestrated hoax explosive finds and to have told the tribunal "a tissue of lies". He had been suspended in 2002.
Only the government has the power to dismiss a garda of the rank of superintendent or higher. The Commissioner does not have the power to fire members of the higher ranks and the cabinet acted on recommendations of then justice minister Michael McDowell.
What were the cases of alleged co-operation between the force and terrorists or external security agencies?
A garda based in Limerick, Denis Kelly, was arrested in 1992 and convicted of tipping off the Provisional IRA about impending Garda raids on arms dumps. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
In the 1970s, a sergeant attached to the Garda's then anti-terror intelligence section, C3, Patrick Crinnion, was accused of passing confidential information to an agent from the British intelligence organisation, MI6. He was acquitted of the major charges and after his release, was believed to have moved with his family to South Africa.
Are gardaí modernising the methods in which they tackle allegations of corruption in the force?
Yes. Commissioner Drew Harris is setting up a new anti-corruption unit in the force and promised it will be up and running by the end of the year.
It will, at least initially, outsource its intelligence files for investigation to the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and will also share its information with the Garda Ombudsman Commission.