Inquiry will look into allegations of garda drug trade collusion
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has signalled the establishment of a public inquiry into allegations of garda collusion in the heroin trade.
In correspondence seen by the Herald, Mr Flanagan confirmed he has sought a report from Acting Garda Commissioner Donall O Cualain into serious claims made by whistleblower Gda Nick Keogh.
Gda Keogh said his life has been destroyed since presenting allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the Midlands, where he was deployed.
Central to his allegations is that gardai colluded with a drug dealer who was being investigated for selling heroin.
Gda Keogh's claims that he was subjected to bullying and harassment are being investigated by Assistant Commissioner Mick Finn.
Gda Keogh has been on sick leave since 2014, when he first made his allegations.
His separate set of allegations about collusion are being examined by Acting Commissioner O Cualain and the garda ombudsman, GSOC.
In a letter to Gda Keogh last week, Mr Flanagan said he cannot intervene in the investigations.
"The investigation into all- egations of garda members being complicit in the sale and supply of heroin is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and you will appreciate the minister has no authority to direct the Commissioner in the control, operation and direction of An Garda Siochana," Mr Flanagan's office wrote.
"While the minister cannot involve himself in the matters addressed here, he has asked the Garda Commissioner for an up-to-date report."
Mr Flanagan added that "should the investigations prove inconclusive when finalised, the establishment of an inquiry would be examined to address the substance of the allegations".
As revealed last month, the bullying allegations made by Gda Keogh have been the subject of a series of meetings in garda headquarters, with one member of management criticising the force's treatment of the decorated officer.
Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning hit out at the delay in dealing with the bullying allegations.
Mr Fanning subsequently secured agreement from Acting Garda Commissioner O Cualain to appoint an assistant commissioner to investigate how Gda Keogh has been treated.