Thursday 21 November 2019

Two gardaí under investigation after allegedly setting up fake checkpoints while on the clock

Fake checkpoints allegation latest scandal to shake faith in gardaí

RSA: latest scandal damages public faith in the Garda force. Photo: Collins
RSA: latest scandal damages public faith in the Garda force. Photo: Collins

Niall O'Connor and Ralph Riegel

Garda management has ordered a major investigation into "irregularities" surrounding vehicle checkpoints in the Cork district, the Irish Independent has learned.

Senior Garda bosses are probing whether false checkpoints were logged on Pulse - the official Garda computer system.

Two rank-and-file gardaí are under investigation and face the prospect of disciplinary action, according to well-placed sources.

The gardaí are suspected of having set up false checkpoints while on the clock.

Significantly, the alleged falsification of checkpoints emerged in recent weeks after the revelations surrounding the one million false breath tests emerged in the public domain.

Sources told the Irish Independent the issue was being taken particularly seriously by Garda Headquarters, given the series of discrepancies surrounding Garda figures that had emerged in recent weeks.

"This is being taken very seriously given the pressure the force is now under about its classification of figures," said a source.

A Garda spokesman said there had been no disciplinary action served on any officer "to date". Follow up queries about the issue got no response.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Mark Condren
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Mark Condren

The Irish Independent revealed earlier this month a review has been launched into the force's statistics on homicides, which include murder and manslaughter.

Read more: 'If there's nothing to hide then what's the problem?' - readers react to garda demand for filming ban

The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) has examined whether more than 40 homicide cases were wrongly classified.

The Cold Case Unit fed into the review, which, when published, will be forwarded to the Policing Authority.

Among the cases examined were ones involving missing persons, murder-suicides and the death of a toddler.

It's understood a number of discrepancies were found in the classification of figures. It has also been confirmed that other figures, such as domestic violence, have thrown up suspected irregularities.

The sheer scale of the internal investigations into Garda numbers have raised major questions for Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, who is grappling to keep the confidence of her rank-and-file officers.

Ms O'Sullivan will appear in front of the Policing Authority today, where she will be quizzed over the alleged falsification of figures.

The Garda chief still has the confidence of the Government, despite surviving a series of no confidence motions levelled by the Opposition.

But she faces a series of difficult challenges ahead, including her appearance at the Disclosures Tribunal, which is examining the alleged smear campaign by Garda management against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Her predecessor, Martin Callinan, is also a key witness at the tribunal, along with Superintendent David Taylor.

Supt Taylor said he was directed to lead the smear campaign and negatively brief journalists against Sgt McCabe.

Irish Independent

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