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Gardaí who did not deal properly with young offenders could face disciplinary action

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said that around 3,200 gardaí associated with the failure to prosecute juvenile offenders are still serving.

He said that all cases have been referred to divisional officers for them to consider taking disciplinary proceedings against individual members.

Speaking before the Oireachtas Justice Committee this morning, he said that of the 3,414 gardaí who were associated with the cases, some 184 were no longer serving.

He repeated his apology to the more than 3,000 individual, corporate and business victims he said were let down by the failure to prosecute almost 7,900 offences committed by juveniles over an eight-year period.

He said the force also let society down by not fully pursuing these crimes, some of them serious, committed by young people.

He also repeated his apology – first given last month – to the 3,489 young people involved, who he said were generally vulnerable.

At a meeting with the Policing Authority last month, Commissioner Harris revealed that he had directed senior officers to examine 3,400 gardaí — around a quarter of all members — to see if disciplinary issues arose.

The crimes include at least 55 serious offences, including one rape, one sexual offence, seven cases of aggravated burglary, one case of child neglect and other cases of threats to kill.

These incidents could leave the Gardaí and the State open to civil actions.

The commissioner said the mass disciplinary examinations was an “extraordinary step” for him to take.

After that announcement, the Garda Representative Association blamed ‘systemic failings’ for the lack of prosecutions, and said it would be wrong to punish individual gardaí for the controversy.

Commissioner Harris is being questioned by committee members.