THE CHIEF Superintendent of An Garda Siochana in Limerick has refuted allegations by men caught in the recent sting operation to tackle prostitution that the men were “entrapped”.
Responding to criticisms of the operation, Chief Superintendent David Sheahan said the operation was conducted “totally within the remit of the law” and all the men could have pleaded not guilty if they so wished.
“I am disappointed that people would run with the idea that we would engage in entrapment. It wasn’t entrapment,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“What seems to have attracted the public’s mind is that we did this without telling anyone we were going to do it. We have checkpoints every day of the week for speeding and drink-driving but we don’t tell people we’re doing that and there’s no furore,” he said.
However, a number of the men charged with soliciting the services of prostitutes have now claimed they were allegedly persuaded by the gardai and some members of the legal profession to plead guilty to have the cases dealt with quickly, and assured that their names would never appear in print.
Chief Supt Sheahan said their plea was a matter for the defendant and their defence. He also pointed out that the gardai “had no desire whatsover to have those names printed. “Once they were in the court that was a matter of public record. After that it was an editorial matter for the newspapers [to name]. But everyone thinks it was the guards. Gardai had no input to name these individuals,” he said.
“I empathise with the situation they find themselves in, but it was not my decision to publish their names. I never wanted them named. I’m providing a public service and have rules and regulations to follow, and what we did was totally within that,” he said.
*A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated December 17, 2011