Irish Barrister, Martin Giblin  SCcentral to the Garda Heavy Gang- Sallins Case, has been fighting and exposing Garda corruption cases since 1976, to date,  (eg Donegal Gardai- Morris Tribunal, Waterford Gardaí and the Ian Bailey frame-up etc). 

The same barrister is central to the recent exposure of the Gárda telephone recording/bugging. Nothing, it seems, has changed over the years.


“Headache? Walk away!”

Justice Minister Alan Shatter and recently sacked (“retired”) Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. 

Corruption Similarities

  1. Many of the police in the Gárda Heavy Gang-Sallins Mail train Case were promoted;
  2. All received state immunity from legal costs in my civil litigation;
  3. None were ever sanctioned internally by the Gárdaí,
  4. None received any legal penalty whatsoever.

Framed: Osgur Breatnach &  Nicky Kelly  
It is unsurprising, therefore, to note many similarities between all these cases over the past thirty eight years- all of them actions by An Garda Síochána, supported by the State, against defendants:
  • Malicious prosecution 
  • Defamation and slander
  • Perjury
  • Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
  • Interference with evidence
  • Undue pressure against defendants (including psychological and, often, physical )
  • Interference with witnesses
  • Misuse/ theft of public funds
  • Withholding of evidence from those taking cases against the Gárdaí/State
  • Non- investigation or/and action against Gárdaí if/when a case falls apart exposing some or all of the above.
  • Several breaches of defendant’s Irish Constitutional  rights
  • A litany of breaches of  European Law
  • Numerous breaches of International Law

..and I mention but a few.

The Appalling Vista

This is the context in which recent controversial actions of An Gárda Síochána should be viewed and clearly points to the need for a new approach in policing oversight.

A state response that equates to more of the same will ensure that in another thirty eight years we will undoubtedly have another, similar, litany of appalling examples of breaches of citizen’s rights.

Irish State opposition to even a modicum of the oversight that exists in the North of Ireland bodes ill for society.

The Gárda Station phone controversy

The current police controversies of victimisation of police whistle blowers, delayed reports, police sackingresignation by the Commissioner, fears of police bugging by the police oversight body GSOC, state recording/bugging of police station phone calls, and who knew what and when and so forth, will continue for some time.

New story lines with twists and turns are likely to become exposed as the thread of state malpractice  is tugged and pulled.

Unasked questions relating to the telephone recording/bugging controversy that come to mind are:

  1. Was this illegal telephone recording system in place also in Irish prisons?*
  2. Aside from telephone recording/ bugging, is (or was) there any other official or unofficial aural bugging in Gárda Stations?
  3. Is there, or was there, any official or unofficial aural bugging of private homes, solicitor’s offices by Gárdaí via computer or other terminals?
  4. Was/is any other arm of the state (eg  the other official  Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Defence Forces) involved in any similar activity as the Gárdaí?
  5. …And the Irish Navy Services ?.
  6. ..or a Secret Service so secret we don’t know about yet?

* Since this blog was published the Prison Service has admitted that over 139 prisoners had their confidential communications between them and their solicitors bugged since 2010.

For decades, experienced community, human rights and political activists in Ireland, like our present Attorney General incidentally, believed it was unsafe to speak openly on Irish telephones.

Indeed I know my own and my wider family, as well as many relations and friends, had our phones bugged for years, which is a scéal eile (another story).

Nothing but an anecdote?

I recall a media report of an alleged assault on a prisoner in an interview room in a Gárda station some years ago that resulted in a part of the prisoner’s body being propelled through a stud partition. Lo and behold, the story goes, it exposed a recording device!

© Osgur Breatnach

Good reads

A STATE CONSPIRACY by Osgur Breatnach.