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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
National
Paul Healy

GSOC request Garda probe into claims investigator attended party with Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

GSOC have asked gardai to formally investigate claims that an investigator attended a party with Gerry Hutch.

The Irish Mirror has exclusively learned that GSOC are asking An Garda Siochana to carry out an investigation into the officer, who has resigned.

It is understood that the investigation will likely be led by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

READ MORE - Minister for Justice breaks silence as GSOC officer resigns after attending house party with Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch

It comes amid concerns that the retired man is about to leave Ireland for good.

Sources have told The Irish Mirror that former colleagues of the man believe he could fly out of Ireland as early as this week.

And they also told us that GSOC, which is a civilian body that investigates allegations of wrongdoing against gardai, has no power to compel the man to talk – because he has resigned.

"He is not a GSOC staff member anymore and cannot be ordered to talk to staff investigating the whole thing," a source said.

"He is a foreign national and can leave any time he wants. Nobody can stop him. The fear is he will fly out of Ireland imminently.

"There is no reason for him to stay here and every reason for him to get out. He has no ties to here."

Three days after our bombshell revelation about the GSOC investigator created a national political storm, we have now learned that the former investigator had access to the Garda file on the Regency Airport Hotel attack - including evidence and intelligence about Mr Hutch (60).

The man caused a massive controversy when he allegedly told a colleague on Tuesday that he had attended a party with Mr Hutch on Monday evening – just hours after the non-jury Special Criminal Court acquitted him of the February 2016 murder of key Kinahan associate David Byrne.

The party is alleged to have take place in a property in north Dublin on the evening of the acquittal.

The GSOC investigator was renting a room in a house nearby and was one of a number of people allegedly invited to the bash.

Gerry Hutch spotted in Dublin on Friday (Padraig O'Reilly)

His colleague was so alarmed by the man’s claim that they immediately contacted their superiors – who then challenged the investigator.

The superiors allegedly told the investigator they would have to investigate his own claims and demanded his official GSOC phone – but he then resigned.

Despite that resignation, GSOC is still carrying out an investigation into the man’s claims he attended a party with 'The Monk' in north Dublin on Monday – or whether he was lying.

But the matter is being taken so seriously now that sources have told us GSOC investigators are likely to examine every case the man – who worked at the organisation for almost five years – was involved in.

As such, the man may have had access to the Garda investigative file into the Regency - including highly secret information.

The man also interacted with several people connected to the investigations.

Sources say every interaction the ex-investigator had will now have to be looked at again.

The sources also said multiple GSOC files the man worked on included personal details on a significant number of gardai he was investigating – and the body will have to probe if any of that data has been compromised.

And we have also learned that GSOC bosses were unhappy with the man’s behaviour.

"They were not happy with him at all," a source said.

Justice Minister Simon Harris has demanded a report on the scandal from GSOC bosses – and that is expected on his desk in the coming days.

Justice Minister Simon Harris (Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos)

"This is a serious matter which needs to be investigated. That investigation is being considered by GSOC, so it would not be appropriate for me to comment on it at this time.

"I have requested a report from the Chairperson of GSOC, which I expect to receive in the coming days.

"I will say that GSOC has a vital role in upholding confidence in policing in Ireland, and it is incredibly important that public confidence in GSOC be maintained."

And the GRA and AGSI, the two main Garda representative bodies, have also expressed their dismay at the scandal.

Antoinette Cunningham, AGSI general secretary, said members are very concerned at the situation.

"We will be writing to the Minister for Justice tomorrow seeking an urgent meeting with him to express our very serious concerns," she told RTÉ Radio’s This Week programme on Sunday.

"I think it takes us back to the question of who oversees GSOC – who watches the watchdog?

"We know they’re an independent statutory body to deal with complaints made against An Garda Síochána but they themselves have to be above reproach in doing that work.

"While I know the Minister for Justice said he was awaiting a report, we were very strong in our association in saying that a realistic degree of separation now has to exist between any report that GSOC might conduct, and this all has to be externalised for there to be any credibility around what may or what might evolve here.

"Public trust and public confidence in this body is hugely important, not only for members of An Garda Siochana, the members that we have that are the subject of ongoing investigations, but the public generally need to have trust and confidence in GSOC and in the work they do, and so a body looking into itself in the way GSOC are suggesting they might do, that wouldn’t be satisfactory as far as we are concerned."

Brendan O’Connor, president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), also expressed concern.

"This raises many fundamental questions about the operation of GSOC and concerns that the Garda Representative Association have had from its inception," he said.

"We need to have complete confidence in the oversight mechanisms that are in place."

He said it is "highly inappropriate" for the GSOC to carry out an internal investigation into the matter.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin backed the call for an external inquiry.

"I’ve written to the minister asking either for a retired judge or for senior counsel to undertake an investigation," he said.

In a statement gardai also confirmed the probe saying: "Following a request from the GSOC Commissioners to the Garda Commissioner, An Garda Siochana has today started an inquiry to examine whether there was any criminality involved relating to a former GSOC investigator.

"The inquiry is being conducted by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation."

In its own statement GSOC said it submitted a report to the Minister for Justice "outlining the action it has taken to date concerning the resignation of a member of our staff."

"When GSOC became aware last week of a potential conflict of interest involving a member of our staff, we immediately removed that member’s access to our systems and commenced an initial internal investigation. The staff member in question resigned shortly thereafter.

"GSOC engaged at a senior level with the Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána and continues to do so. We took these steps promptly in response to the disclosure of a potential conflict of interest so as to preserve the integrity of our systems and facilitate proper investigation of all matters relating to this.

"It is not GSOC’s policy to investigate itself and we see independent investigation as integral to proper oversight, due process and fairness," the body said.

"It is of paramount importance to establish whether any concerns of a criminal nature arise. This is a matter for An Garda Síochána in the first instance and GSOC is cooperating with them in their examination of the matter and will cooperate with any investigation that they deem necessary.

"GSOC is committed to ensuring that any further investigation into this matter that may prove necessary is carried out independently, to ensure that public confidence in the oversight of policing in Ireland is both fostered and maintained."

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