A retired Garda Superintendent is pursuing the State for damages after he was informed that he will not face criminal charges in relation to his arrest over two years ago on suspicion of serious criminal conduct.
Eamon O’Neill (54) was informed last Thursday that he will now not face any charges in respect of the allegations, that he tipped off a garda that he was being monitored by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) as part of a major probe into alleged Garda corruption.
Solicitor Dan O’Gorman, who represents Mr O’Neill, has now called for an “independent inquiry” into his client’s arrest on May 19th, 2019. He said the matter has “torn apart” Mr O’Neill’s life.
“He spent 100 days in a psychiatric hospital, he’s on permanent medication, he’s [endured] estrangement from colleagues, family, and friends. Was there anybody there to say ‘stop, think’.”
Mr O’Gorman said Mr O’Neill has brought a High Court action “for breach of his constitutional rights, from a-z of his reliefs and remedies”, which he said was “ongoing”.
Mr O’Neill was serving as a Superintendent in the Limerick Garda Division when he was arrested early on the morning of May 19th, 2019 at his home in Co Clare.
He was brought to Athlone Garda station and questioned by GNBCI detectives on suspicion of tipping off a garda that his car had been bugged by gardaí investigating alleged serious Garda corruption.
The detectives also put to him that he stood idly by while a Garda colleague snorted cocaine beside him while they were socialising in a pub.
Mr O’Neill strenuously denied all the allegations put to him and he was released without charge. He retired in November 2020 after having lost a challenge to his continued suspension that June.
Mr O’Gorman said it is concerning that Mr O’Neill was interviewed only once, in relation to the allegations put to him on May 19, 2019.
“I don’t think you have to be Inspector Clouseau or Perry Mason to conclude that it was highly unlikely, in that circumstance, that [Mr O’Neill] would have been charged, because he wasn’t reinterviewed,” the solicitor said.
“They didn’t reinterview him, they just left him swinging for two and half years,” he added.
“Recently, Dáil TDs came out publicly and asked what was going on with all of this; I’ve been writing letters to GNBCI asking them what’s going on. Maybe there was a reason for it, but I think somebody should find out whether there was a reason, and that’s why I’m calling for an inquiry.”