Written Answers. - Garda Anti-Racketeering Unit.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

83 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice, in relation to her reply to Parliamentary Question No. 7 of 9 March 1994, Official Report Volume 440, No. 2, column 237, if the inquiries into irregularities in the Garda Anti-Racketeering unit have been completed; and if so, the outcome of those inquiries. [2429/94]

As I indicated in my replies to questions on 3 February and 9 March (Official Report Volumes 438 (No. 3) and 440 (No. 2) at columns 689 to 695 and 327 to 328 respectively) the Garda Commissioner instituted an internal inquiry into matters which had come to light in relation to certain operations of the Garda Anti-Racketeering Unit (ARU). A number of changes took place in the unit as a result of that action.

Subsequently, certain other information came to light and the Commissioner instituted a further investigation. I can confirm that that investigation was finalised and that the Garda report on the matter was sent to me by the Commissioner on 27 May 1994.

The main conclusions of the investigation were as follows:
(1) The installation of a tape recorder in the Office of the ARU in Garda Headquarters and the taping of telephone conversations, at the direction of the Garda member in operational control of the former ARU at the times relevant to the investigation, were justified and in accordance with law.
(2) Adequate arrangements were not in place in the ARU at the relevant times for securing audio cassette tapes.
(3) The obtaining of a sum of £200 in July 1992 by the Garda in operational control of the ARU from a private organisation — INFACT — in connection with the investigation of illegal copying of video cassettes, was not for the benefit of the Garda, and was not used as such. But the investigation concluded that it would have been more prudent if the Garda member had sought the sum through the usual channels within the Force so as to negative any allegation of improper payment and use of money from third parties. (It had been established in the first internal inquiry that payments totalling £250 were made by INFACT to some members of An Garda Síochána, as unsolicited out of pocket expenses in connection with searches by the ARU to detect breaches of the Copyright Acts.)
(4) The working relationship between the INFACT organisation and the Garda ARU at the relevant times appeared to have been a professional one, involving a close working relationship between the member in operational control of the ARU and the Director General of INFACT.
(5) No sustainable evidence was discovered as to the identity of the person who removed cassette tapes from the office of the ARU, or as to the identity of the source of their distribution to a third party.
The report also confirmed earlier evidence of poor inter-personal relationships, including strong conflicts of views, between certain members of the former ARU