Sunday 22 April 2018

Gardaí had one of the most hi-tech phone recording systems

Drogheda Garda Station.
Drogheda Garda Station.

DROGHEDA had one of the most hi-tech phone recording systems in place in the country before the practice was ended last November.

Only the likes of Harcourt Square in Dublin and Anglesea Street in Cork had more detailed operations, the tender process for the digital recording systems reveal.

The controversial practice came into operation in 2008, with Drogheda detailed in the process.

'There is a DX 3000 communications controller installed here. All telephones and radios that are to be recorded can be recorded using two-wire audio. There will be a requirement to record 24 analog channels,' the multi thousand euro tender explained.

One local man who had reason to make a complaint to the gardaí just over two years ago expressed surprise to the Drogheda Independent that people were unaware that phone calls were being recorded.

'I rang the station in relation to a complaint and while I explained my case, I asked the garda if he was taking notes and he informed me the calls were taped anyway,' the man revealed.

'When I look back on it now it was probably a bit strange, but it wasn't a surprise to me.'

The recordings carried out in 20 stations around Ireland came to light last week with Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressing his concerns.

The Cabinet was told that as many as 2,500 tapes existed, raising questions as to whether calls between criminal suspects held in stations and their solicitors were secretly recorded.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the revelations were not new and he found it extraordinary that the Government was claiming they were.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered that the taping of calls be ended last November after an investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) .

'An Garda Siochana held a public tender in October 2007 for a range of telecoms, video and radio equipment,' a garda spokesperson said last week. 'An Garda Siochana is currently compiling a full report on the matters raised recently for the Minister for Justice and it wouldn't be appropriate to comment further while that report is being compiled.'

The Government said the threat to criminal convictions due to the recording of phone calls was behind its decision to establish a commission of inquiry into the incident.

Drogheda Independent