Fears of ‘major miscarriage of justice’ in probe of garda

Garda Superintendent Eamon O'Neill
By Michael Clifford

A retired chief superintendent has told the High Court he is concerned that a “major miscarriage of justice” is happening in the criminal investigation into a serving garda superintendent.

The retired officer, Gerry Mahon, has sworn an affidavit in an action being taken by the Superintendent Eamon O’Neill to have his suspension from the force lifted. 

Supt O’Neill was one of three gardaí arrested on 15 May 2019 as part of a criminal investigation. Among the issues being investigated was an allegation that another officer, Inspector Arthur Ryan, had sniffed cocaine in a bar in Limerick where the three gardaí were gathered. 

The DPP has ruled there by no prosecution against Inspector Ryan in relation to this incident. The third garda, a ranking member, is currently before the criminal courts on a separate matter.

Mr Mahon, in his affidavit points out that he “is not a friend” of Supt O’Neill but he had served “long hours and days” with him in combatting Limerick’s gang warfare in the 2000s.

“I reached out to him in circumstances where I felt it appropriate to do so as someone whom I well-regarded and I was sure required support. I say the plaintiff requires support. I also say the plaintiff requires the intervention of the court.

“On the basis of all the documentation that I have read carefully in relation to these proceedings, I have very serious concerns that a major miscarriage of justice is being perpetrated and that the good name of An Garda Siochana will be reduced not only in the public mind but also in the rank and file members.” 

Another retired chief super, John Kerins, has also sworn an affidavit in support of Supt O’Neill but that was not opened during the High Court hearing because of time constraints.

The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is conducting the investigation into Supt O’Neill, has told the court they have conducted a proper investigation according to procedure and law.

Eamon O’Neill is a well known figure in Limerick through his association with the GAA, including a backroom position in the county’s senior hurling title in 2018.

Since his arrest, he has been the subject of a further investigation into the cancellation of road traffic penalty points for a number of individuals, including high profile GAA players and a TV celebrity.

Supt O’Neill has told the court he believes that investigation is a “ruse” because no evidence was uncovered in the matter for which he was arrested. He states that there was nothing unusual in how he handled the cases in question.

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