herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Senior garda is arrested after probe into alleged leaks to media

Senior Garda arrested as part of investigation into disclosure of information to media
Senior Garda arrested as part of investigation into disclosure of information to media

A garda superintendent was arrested this morning by colleagues probing alleged leaks to the media.

The senior officer was met at 7.30am by appointment at Balbriggan Garda Station and arrested on suspicion of breaching the Garda Síochána Act.

The offcer, who is aged in his early 50s, is one of the most senior officer ever to be detained.

Sources said many of the officer’s colleagues were “shocked, saddened and outraged”.

It has emerged that on two occasions officers seized the senior garda’s phone, and the major probe into the well-regarded superintendent has caused “huge stress to him”, according to acquaintances.

Former Irish Independent security editor Tom Brady today said that he was shocked by the development.

The investigation is being led by Chief Superintendent Frank Clerkin, who is based in Pearse Street, and Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan.

Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan established the probe last July following a report by former Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan into the removal by gardaí of two Roma children from their families in Athlone and Tallaght in October 2013.

The report found that while the HSE could not be ruled out as a source of the information that was leaked, the release of details in relation to one of the minors may possibly have come from someone in the gardai.

The arrested garda is a Tipperary father-of-two who is considered an extremely effective officer.

“He is a decent man who has served for over 30 years in the force. For this to happen is a complete disaster,” a source said.

husband

The Garda Press Office would not confirm the arrest and the National Union of Journalists would not make any comment.

Det Supt McGowan, who is a lead investigator, is the husband of Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan.

Security journalist Tom Brady said, “This is the first time that an officer of this

rank has been arrested by colleagues in relation to a criminal investigation.

“As all of the details surrounding this development are not yet clear, its difficult to comment directly on the arrest.

“But the move appears to have been taken using powers conferred on the force under the controversial Garda Siochana Act, 2005,” he said.

“Since its introduction, the media generally have been concerned that its provisions would be used to curb the freedom of the Press.

“While I was security editor at Independent News and Media, I can say that this officer was highly respected and well regarded, not only by crime and security correspondents and other members of the media but also by serving and former garda officers, of all ranks.

“In his dealings with me he did not, to my knowledge, breach any garda regulations,” he added.

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