Garda suspended for bike loan assisted whistleblower colleague, was identified in tribunal

The garda suspended for lending a bicycle to an elderly man assisted a whistleblower colleague who’d raised evidence of another guard’s collusion in the drug trade. The suspended garda – as well as the assistance he gave the whistleblower – was identified to colleagues during a tribunal.   

An investigation into garda involvement in midlands drug dealing “found evidence to substantiate claims” made by whistleblower Nicky Keogh but that this evidence fell short of what was required for criminal prosecutions. Among these claims were allegations that an Athlone garda had a relationship with a female drug dealer and had intentionally thwarted garda drug operations to her benefit. 

Diaries submitted during a later tribunal by Keogh show the detective who was suspended for three years over a loaned bike had spoken to Keogh about the garda accused of complicity in drug dealing. The detective was identified to colleagues during this tribunal in late 2019. He was suspended months later.

The loaned bike detective named in a tribunal 

Garda Nicky Keogh turned whistleblower in 2014 and made allegations which “uncovered suspicions of criminal behaviour by gardaí in Athlone, but short of what was required to bring a prosecution”. These allegations included claims that a “Garda A” was in a relationship with a local heroin dealer and that he helped her evade raids. 

Keogh later alleged that he was penalised and bullied at work for his whistleblowing, with these claims investigated during the Protected Disclosures Tribunal. Though the tribunal found against Keogh, it didn’t deal with the already found to be credible allegations of garda collusion in the drug trade. 

During the tribunal Keogh’s diaries were entered into evidence. These diaries, viewed by The Ditch, show that Keogh had met with the garda who loaned an elderly man a bike from garda evidence and was later suspended for this act.

The garda was suspended for three years, as reported by the Sunday Independent

The pair discussed, according to the diaries, “Garda A” – their colleague accused of helping his drug dealer partner avoid garda searches. 

An October 2014 Keogh diary entry records that the detective at the centre of the bike controversy “told me that [Garda A] was trying to get hands on the Deveraux Gun that I.T were looking for”.

This diary was part of the evidence presented at the tribunal and was accessible to the gardaí accused of bullying. Keogh later told the tribunal he believed the detective’s name should have been redacted. 

Last week garda commissioner Drew Harris defended the investigation of the detective who loaned the bike, telling reporters that the full facts of the case were not in the public domain. Justice minister Helen McEntee would not comment on the matter but expressed support for Harris.

An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice have been contacted for comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors