| 16.1°C Dublin

'Bogus fund claim' garda is brother of GAA legend

A LONG-serving garda who was arrested and questioned about an alleged bogus collection for his "seriously ill" wife is the brother of one of Ireland's most legendary GAA stars.

The officer – whose brother is retired from inter-county action – was arrested after it emerged that a local community was told that the woman was suffering from cancer and needed treatment in the United States.

The garda – who is believed to have got €120,000 – is alleged to have organised a collection and secured donations to offset the costs of the trip.

The middle-aged man, who is based in a station in the south east of the country, was also a renowned GAA player in his younger days and was a particularly talented Gaelic footballer.

He was arrested by detectives at his home yesterday.

A source said: "People are very shocked over this because he always came across as such as a lovely, genuine man who was at the heart of the community he worked in.

"He is an old-school garda who would have known everyone."

The garda was detained on suspicion of deception and taken for questioning to the garda station in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.

He was held throughout the day under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. He was released from custody last night.

A file will now be prepared by detectives for the Director of Public Prosecutions, who would determine if criminal charges should be brought.



Gardai have accounted for around half of the donated money since their inquiries began and are still trying to track down a number of people who were allegedly duped into handing over money but have not yet come forward and contacted detectives.

Investigations have established that there was no basis for the claim that the money was to be used to fund a trip to the US for cancer treatment.

Gardai believe that some of the donors were embarrassed at apparently being duped and were reluctant to make complaints to the investigation team.

It is understood that gardai are trying to establish exactly why the officer ended up "going down this road".