Over 200 allegations against Limerick gardai, GSOC confirms

 GSOC reports eight breaches by local gardai

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Over 200 allegations against Limerick gardai, GSOC confirms

Henry Street garda station faced 115 allegations in 2015

OVER 200 allegations were made against gardai attached to the Limerick division in 2015, but the Garda Commissioner has found that there were only eight breaches of discipline regulations by gardai.

The majority of the 164 admissible complaints relate to allegations of an abuse of authority, and neglect of duty.

However, further data obtained by the Limerick Leader this week shows that in only eight cases did the Garda Commissioner identify a breach of discipline regulations following a disciplinary investigation, and apply a sanction.

The number of allegations against gardai in Limerick is one of the highest in the State, according to the annual report for 2015 was published this week by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), an independent agency.

However, Limerick is also one of the highest policed divisions in the country given its population size, with 554 sworn personnel this year, down from 656 in January 2011.

Of the 205 allegations, 164 were admissible, and 41 – or some 20% – deemed inadmissible for a variety of reasons, with the majority of those cases not constituting misbehaviour under the Garda Síochána Discipline Regulations.

Some 121 admissible allegations against gardai in Limerick have now been dealt with – with 43 allegations remaining for investigation.

Figures in the report state that there were 175 allegations made against Limerick gardai in 2015, however following queries by this newspaper, the GSOC office clarified that the number relating to Limerick has now increased to 205.

A spokesperson said that these additional allegations had been made towards the end of the 2015, but they had not yet been processed.

Among the cases is one referral received from a Superintendent in the Limerick division, under section 102(1) of the Garda Síochána Act, which calls for an independent investigation of any matter that appears to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in death or serious harm.

This referral was in relation to injury in the context of arrest, and the investigation is still ongoing.

The majority of allegations related to gardai attached to Henry Street station, with 115 allegations; followed by Roxboro Road with 28 allegations.

In the county, there were 15 allegations relating to Newcastle West and six relating to Bruff.

Some 121 admissible allegations in Limerick were investigated and closed in 2015.

In 46 of those cases it was deemed that no further investigation was necessary, and in an additional 30 cases the Garda Commissioner identified no breach of Discipline Regulations, following a disciplinary investigation.

In 26 cases the allegation was withdrawn or there was no co-operation from the complainant.

In five cases, GSOC identified no misbehaviour by a member following a criminal investigation.

Two cases were referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions following a criminal investigation, but no prosecution was directed.

GSOC advised that it has no power to decide on whether there has been a breach of discipline or not and apply any appropriate sanctions.

“GSOC’s role is to conduct the investigation and then send a report presenting the findings to the Garda Commissioner, who has the responsibility of making that decision,” it stated.

Nationally, just under 2,000 complaints were received by the Garda Ombudsman in 2015, of which 1,102 were admissible. The most common matters complained of were abuse of authority and neglect of duty, which is again comparable with the Limerick figures.