COURT

Garda brings action aimed at preventing his dismissal

Aodhan O'Faolain

Reporter:

Aodhan O'Faolain

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news@waterfordlive.ie

Garda brings action aimed at preventing his dismissal

Garda brings action aimed at preventing his dismissal

A probationary garda has launched a High Court challenge aimed at preventing his dismissal from An Garda Siochana.

The garda, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is the subject of a criminal investigation after he was arrested and his home searched last year by gardaí under a warrant issued under the Offences Against the State Acts.

Arising out of the allegations, he was suspended from duty over alleged irregularities to the possession, storage, and processing of firearms and related materials and documents in his role for An Garda Siochana.

The garda denies any wrongdoing and says that if given an opportunity he will make a full defence to the allegations made against him.

Earlier this year the garda was informed that the Commissioner proposed to dispense with his services arising out of allegations contained in a report complied by a senior garda officer.

Several incidents where it is alleged that the garda failed to demonstrate conduct and behaviour to serve as an efficient and competent member were outlined in the report.

The allegations include that he was found in possession of items, including documents, keys to store rooms, utility belt handcuffs and other garda accessories that he was not entitled or had permission to possess. 

Following the Commissioner's decision, the Dublin-based garda's lawyers made written submissions to the Commissioner outlining why he should not be dismissed.

The lawyers also asked the Commissioner to confirm that no further steps would be taken in the process until all the material relied on by the Commissioner had been provided to the garda and his legal team.

The garda says the Commissioner has not replied to the letter, it is claimed. This has resulted in the bringing of High Court proceedings.

Mark Harty SC told the court that there was a failure to provide his client with the background material so he can deal with the allegations.

Since sending the letter to the Commissioner last month there had been "complete radio silence", counsel said, adding that his client was now in a vacuum.

His client had also made protected disclosure regarding his work with An Garda Siochana, counsel added.

In his action, the garda claims that by making the determination that he is minded to dismiss, the Commissioner has failed to act in accordance with Garda Discipline Regulations or the 2005 Garda Siochana Act.

The Commissioner failed to conduct an inquiry into the allegations against the garda, or advise the garda of the Commissioner's concerns about the allegations, before making the decision that he intends to dismiss him.

These actions breach the garda's rights to fair procedures and natural justice, and otherwise in accordance with the presumption of innocence.

In his action against the Commissioner, he seeks an order quashing the decision to dispense with his services as a probationary member of and dismissing him from An Garda Siochana.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Denis McDonald at the High Court on Monday.

The action was adjourned to a date in late April.