For­mer Wex­ford garda in court bid to get his job back

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS -

A WEX­FORD garda who quit af­ter only seven months ser­vice be­cause of al­leged bul­ly­ing and what he claimed was fail­ure of his col­leagues to carry out their public du­ties, has launched a High Court ac­tion against the Com­mis­sioner for re­fus­ing to allow him re-join the force.

For­mer Garda Mark O’Neill has claimed in sworn doc­u­ments opened be­fore Mr Jus­tice Richard Humphreys that his col­leagues at Wex­ford Garda Sta­tion failed to in­ves­ti­gate crimes and per­form manda­tory al­co­hol test­ing check­points.

Mr O’Neill also al­leged his for­mer col­leagues failed to record of­fi­cial records on PULSE the com­puter sys­tem gar­daí use in their work. He re­signed from the force in April of 2016, hav­ing joined only seven months ear­lier in Septem­ber 2015.

As well as mak­ing com­plaints about the al­co­hol test­ing check­points he also said there had been a fail­ure to re­spond to emer­gency calls, that there was a lack of su­per­vi­sion of pro­ba­tion­ary gardai, bul­ly­ing and that his per­sonal prop­erty was dam­aged.

Mark Harty, coun­sel for O’Neill, told the judge his client had been a mem­ber of the Garda Re­serve be­fore join­ing the force full-time. He had re­signed af­ter hav­ing be­come un­happy with re­gard to a num­ber of is­sues.

Mr Harty, who ap­peared with bar­ris­ter John Berry and solic­i­tor Sean Costel­lor, said Mr O’Neill, from Kill, County Water­ford, had since been prompted to re-join the force by a Garda Su­per­in­ten­dent and he had ap­plied again in June 2016.

He said Mr O’Neill’s ap­pli­ca­tion to re-join was not dealt with for 12 months, and in June 2017 he had been in­formed that his ap­pli­ca­tion had been refused.

Dur­ing the year-long de­lay he had been in­formed that the be­hav­iour he had com­plained about would have to be in­ves­ti­gated be­fore his ap­pli­ca­tion to re-join could be con­sid­ered.

Mr Harty said that Mr O’Neill had not been given any rea­sons for the Com­mis­sioner’s re­fusal nor had he been in­formed of the out­come of any in­ves­ti­ga­tion that may or may not have taken place.

Coun­sel said Mr O’Neill was en­ti­tled to know the rea­sons for the re­fusal and the Com­mis­sioner was obliged to give them. He had dis­closed mat­ters in­ter­nally to se­nior of­fi­cers ‘ be­fore such is­sues had come into the public do­main.’

‘He has made com­plaints about be­hav­iour which is crim­i­nal in na­ture and in which Mr O’Neill has been the in­jured party. He has a right to be kept in­formed of the progress of the re­sults of any in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’ Mr Harty said.

Mr O’Neil has taken ju­di­cial re­view pro­ceed­ings against the Garda Com­mis­sioner and is seek­ing an or­der quash­ing the re­fusal to let him re-join An Garda Siochána.

He also seeks an or­der di­rect­ing he be given rea­sons why the Com­mis­sioner refused his ap­pli­ca­tion to re-join.

He has also asked the court for a dec­la­ra­tion that when a for­mer garda who has given a su­pe­rior of­fi­cer in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the launch of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the for­mer mem­ber is en­ti­tled to be kept in­formed of the progress and re­sult of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Per­mis­sion to bring the chal­lenge was granted on an ex-parte ba­sis, where only one party was present in court. Judge Humphreys ad­journed the mat­ter to a date in the new law term.

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