Tag Archives: Garda Síochána

The Charleton Report

As possibly the only journalist in Ireland to have covered two Garda tribunals of inquiry in their entirety, I should probably say a few words about what will probably come to be known in shorthand as the Charleton Tribunal. For starters, although I’d be glad to do so, it’s deeply unlikely I will cover a third Garda inquiry. The Morris and Smithwick tribunals &em; Morris in particular &em; occurred under… Read Article →

Embargo

Yesterday, the garda press office issued an alert to journalists about an “incident” in Mountmellick, where a man had barricaded himself inside a house. The brief notice asked journalists to respect a blackout in reporting the incident until it was resolved. Sometimes, based on their assessment, garda authorities will ask journalists to cover an event, as a way of communicating directly with someone who may be listening to a radio…. Read Article →

When you’re reporting your source’s point of view, its PR, not journalism

There was a rumour you see. And as far as the Guards were concerned, it was a believable rumour, despite the complete absence of any forensic evidence. So the Guards mobilised, and swooped down on innocent families. Not this week in Tallaght and the Midlands, but 17 years ago, in Donegal. The case led to a tribunal of inquiry, chaired by retired High Court president Mr Justice Frederick Morris, and… Read Article →

Street value

Hang around the courts for a while, as many journalists do, and you begin to notice some odd patterns. Consider these snippets from a google search of reports on drugs convictions, for example: “16.43 grammes of cocaine valued at €1150” “a kilogram of cocaine worth € 70000” “962 grammes of cocaine worth €67340” “932 grammes of cocaine with a street value of €65261” The price per gram of cocaine in… Read Article →

Kelly Jones found alive

American tourist Kelly Jones (41) was today (Wednesday) discovered alive in a disused Church of Ireland rectory in Glencolmcille, Co Donegal. Jones, from Charleston, South Carolina, had been missing since Friday. A major rescue effort was launched after the alarm was raised when she went missing from Malinmore hostel where she was staying. Local volunteers joined Garda units, the coastguard, and Donegal Mountain Rescue volunteers in the search of the… Read Article →

Behind closed doors

All Ms O’Sullivan knew was the name of the witness. She had no idea what the witness statement contained, and so no idea if what the witness might say in evidence was relevant to her client. So could she please hear the evidence? Just in case something had to be challenged to defend her client’s reputation. It couldn’t possibly have anything to so with your client, Peter Smithwick told her…. Read Article →

Naming names

So it turns out, Tom Connolly didn’t have the name of a new Garda mole. His announcement of “unease” in Dundalk Garda station came as a surprise to the Smithwick tribunal. Fair play demands that everyone has the chance to confront an accuser, so the tribunal didn’t purse the question at the time. They later took a statement from Connolly, so that lawyers could prepared for cross-examination. Last Wednesday, Connolly… Read Article →

What they didn’t say

Sometimes, it’s the questions they don’t ask. Retired superintendent Tom Connolly told the Smithwick tribunal today about his time in Dundalk, and the day two RUC officers where killed in an IRA ambush returning from the station where he worked. Days later, press reports suggested a Garda “mole” fed information to the IRA. Tribunal barrister Justin Dillon asked had Connolly heard those rumours? “I did,” he answered bluntly. “I’d say… Read Article →

Ink and the law

The Smithwick tribunal will not provide overnight transcripts to lawyers because it will cost too much, tribunal chairman Peter Smithwick ruled today. Last month, 200 Words reported Smithwick’s decision not to publish daily transcripts, and the protests that followed from several legal teams. Today, having considered their arguments, Smithwick confirmed his earlier decision. He said the lawyers had argued they could not always attend every sitting of the tribunal, and… Read Article →

Justice…shall be administered in public

Overnight transcripts from the Smithwick tribunal may not be made available to the public or to the various legal teams granted representation at the inquiry into alleged Garda collusion with the Provisional IRA. “The transcripts will not be put on the internet,” counsel for the tribunal said at today’s brief public hearing. They would also not be available to his legal colleagues, he added. Legal teams for other parties at… Read Article →