Seanad debates

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

10:30 am

Photo of Robbie GallagherRobbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Last week, Mr. Justice Frank Clarke published his report into the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Sergeant Mick Galvin at Ballyshannon Garda Station in County Donegal in May 2015. Sergeant Mick Galvin's death was a terrible tragedy for his wife, Colette, their three children, their wider family circle and his Garda colleagues and community in that particular region.

The report raised serious issues about the way the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, goes about its business. The report highlighted shortcomings in how GSOC went about its work. Mr. Justice Clarke stated there can be no doubt but that he "was both an outstanding member of An Garda Síochána and also an outstanding person". He continued by stating Sergeant Michael Galvin was not involved in any wrong-doing. This is, and was, the clear outcome of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, inquiry.

I have a few questions arising from Mr. Justice Clarke's report. Was there a need for a criminal inquiry? Why was the file sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions when GSOC's inquiry found nothing to report? I also note that members of the force who were under criminal investigation were not informed they were being investigated. Tragically, in this case, Sergeant Mick Galvin was not informed of the outcome of the inquiry to the effect that he had no case to answer. I can only imagine the stress, worry and annoyance that this incident caused him and his family. As a result of the report, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, AGSI, has sought an urgent meeting with GSOC on items that spring from the report. I ask the Leader to use his good office to facilitate a meeting. I fully appreciate there always will be tensions between GSOC and An Garda Síochána. Both have a job to do and both deserve space and time to do such work. The report has clearly shown there are many shortcomings that need to be addressed. Again, I ask the Leader to use his good offices to facilitate a meeting between An Garda Síochána and GSOC in order that all concerned know exactly where they stand and what is expected of them.


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