"Rogue" gardaí working with criminal informants to entrap people, TD claims

Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny wants an investigation into new allegations of garda malpractice

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The Dáil has been asked to establish a commission of investigation into new allegations of garda malpractice in Leitrim.

Speaking under Dáil privilege this afternoon, local Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny claimed that “rogue” gardaí in the district have used criminal informants to set up and entrap people so they can be prosecuted.

Mr Kenny said he also had serious concerns about the disappearance of a man five years ago not being investigated, because a garda informant was among the last people to see him.

He further alleged senior officers have reprimanded gardaí who tried to investigate or raise concerns about criminal activity, including drugs offences, breaches of bail conditions and firearms offences.

Earlier this year, he said, a detective garda in Leitrim became aware of the existence of a gun in the possession of a member of a criminal gang operating in the area.  

However, the information was not put on the Pulse system, no searches were carried out and it was kept secret from almost all gardaí in the Leitrim district, he claimed.

In another case, Mr Kenny alleged information about threats to the safety of two serving gardaí was withheld from the two men in question for weeks, despite senior gardaí knowing about criminal plans to target their homes.

The Sinn Féin TD also claimed a garda informant, working under the direction of two gardaí, sold robbed equipment from a builder’s shed to a man whose house was searched the following day.

The stolen property was recovered there and the man was subsequently charged and convicted over the crime, according to Mr Kenny.

Another allegation is that a garda informant was instructed by his handlers to set a trap for a person at an NCT centre.  

The informant allegedly placed money in a car, which had minor defects, as a bribe to get it through the test.  

The car was passed and the employee was later charged and convicted of accepting a bribe, Mr Kenny said.

Claims not investigated

The Sinn Féin TD claimed that high-ranking officers have protected “rogue” gardaí and covered for them with secrecy and denial.

Mr Kenny also alleged that his own home was targeted for burglary by a garda informant, who had been asked to do so by a serving member of the force.

He said two gardaí brought their concerns about the handling of intelligence sources in the area to the then garda commissioner Martin Callinan and later to the then justice minister Alan Shatter, but that the claims were not investigated.

However, he stressed that “in my area of Leitrim, as in other places, the vast majority of guards are doing their job honestly and diligently”.