PULSE garda system used as "some sort of social website for gossip" - Alan Shatter

Some 150 members of the force accessed information following an arrest in 2013

PULSE, garda computer system, Garda Siochana, Alan Shatter, access, Clare Daly, Katy French,

A member of the gardaí using a computer, showing the PULSE system on screen in 1999 | Image: RollingNews.ie

It has been claimed some members of An Garda Síochána were using the PULSE computer system "as a social website".

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter made the claim over inappropriate access to the system by gardaí.

A review carried out following a Garda Inspectorate report in 2014 highlighted systemic failures in recording practices on the garda internal computer system.

While another review carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) into the quality of garda crime data found that 18% of crimes reported to gardaí in 2011 do not appear to have been recorded on the system.

Mr Shatter referenced an incident where a number of gardaí accessed the PULSE system in relation to the arrest of TD Clare Daly in 2013 for suspected drink-driving.

"What isn't generally publicly known is that I raised that issue with the garda authorities and I expressed concern as to how that came about", he told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk.

"I was subsequently advised...that in excess of 150 members of the force had accessed the PULSE system - some of them seem to think it was some sort of social website that they could look up for gossip purposes".

"As I understand it...one of the investigations that GSOC have been engaged in that gave rise to controversy over the last ten days has arisen out of a complaint that Deputy Daly made as to how that information got into the public domain".

"And of course that was also, as I understand it, how some of the background circumstances relevant to the tragic death of a very well-known model, Katy French, also found their way into the public domain".

"My concern at the time was that in relation to reports on both those issues, they were more about prurient interest than public interest".