herald

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Garda chiefs back down over threats to Love/Hate officer

Det Garda Kieran O'Reilly (left) and Brian O'Byrne in scene from show.
Det Garda Kieran O'Reilly (left) and Brian O'Byrne in scene from show.

GARDA bosses are facing an embarrassing climbdown on plans to discipline the detective who played an undercover cop in Love/Hate.

Senior management were reportedly eager to impose disciplinary action on Detective Garda Kieran O'Reilly even though he had received permission from his bosses to appear on the RTE show.

A superintendent was directed to investigate whether disciplinary regulations had been breached. It is now understood that this investigation concluded that Det Garda O'Reilly was entitled to appear in the crime drama and complied fully with regulations.

 

REGULATIONS

Sources have revealed that senior management may only now ask the Garda legal affairs section to introduce a new regulation restricting gardai from appearing in dramas depicting any policing-related role.

There is currently no such regulation to prevent gardai from appearing in dramas. Highly respected Det Garda O'Reilly only took up the role after he received consent from bosses.

He took unpaid leave to play the part of undercover garda Ciaran Madden.

However, it appears senior garda management were unaware of his plans until the show was aired and it is reported that when it became known in Garda HQ, senior management became "obsessed".

The only option now open to senior management is a change in regulations and the legal section has been told to look into this.

Det Garda O'Reilly carried out dangerous undercover work into drugs gangs in Ireland for six years for the National Drugs Unit, but went back to desk work last year.

He appeared in all six episodes of the most recent Love/Hate series and was praised for his performances.

Two days before the final episode was broadcast he was informed that disciplinary action against him was being considered.

The internal inquiry into his acting role provoked astonishment among colleagues who know of Det Garda O'Reilly's work and the risks he has taken in real life.

The fact that an officer of superintendent rank was taken from other duties to investigate the TV appearance was widely derided.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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