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Top garda suspended over Covid rule row at JoJo press briefing

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Kathleen Bergin, the sister of missing JoJo Dullard. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Kathleen Bergin, the sister of missing JoJo Dullard. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Kathleen Bergin, the sister of missing JoJo Dullard. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A garda superintendent who attended a high-profile media briefing while awaiting the results of a Covid test has been suspended from duty.

The senior officer attended the press conference in relation to the JoJo Dullard investigation last month, during which it was announced the case was being upgraded to a murder inquiry.

Later that day, more than 20 people, including journalists and gardaí, were informed that a person who was at the briefing had later been informed he was Covid positive.

A chief superintendent from a different garda region was assigned to carry out enquiries into the matter.

Complaint

Last week, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commissioner (GSOC) received a complaint from a journalist who had been at the event and later contracted coronavirus.

The superintendent was also informed last week that he was being suspended pending the outcome of internal enquiries.

The inquiry centres on the senior officer allegedly breaching public health guidelines for attending the press conference while awaiting the results of a Covid test.

It is understood the superintendent had also travelled to eastern Europe before the media briefing, and it will be investigated if he self-isolated for the required period after returning to Ireland.

The country had previously been on the green travel list issued by the Government, which does not require people to self-isolate on their return, but was removed in the weeks before the briefing.

Garda Headquarters said in a statement that an internal disciplinary investigation into the matter is continuing, and they were not commenting on the rank or gender of the officer "in case it inadvertently identifies them".

He has been removed from duty pending the outcome of this inquiry.

Last month, gardaí announced they were upgrading the JoJo Dullard case to murder, having been satisfied that the missing woman is dead and that she died through violent means.

Her sister, Kathleen Bergin, again appealed for information in relation to the murder of JoJo, who was last seen on November 9, 1995, making her way from Dublin city centre to her home in Callan, Co Kilkenny.

Answers

"We agree with the decision that has been made here to upgrade JoJo's case to a murder investigation," Ms Bergin said.

"After all these years, we have known in our hearts and accepted that JoJo is not alive and we are hopeful that the team will be able to move this case along further and maybe, please God, find answers to our question.

"If somebody somewhere has information about JoJo and for whatever reason they have felt unable to come forward up until now, we are praying their circumstances have changed.

"We understand fear has been holding them back, and please believe us when we say we just want to have JoJo brought home."


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