By Cormac Looney, EXCLUSIVE
Tuesday October 13 2009
THREE gardai are on the payroll of one of Dublin's biggest drugs gangs, it can be revealed today.
The officers were receiving money and favours from criminals, who then used the garda intelligence to target and intimidate rivals and innocent members of the public alike.
The three bent gardai also used their colleagues to get sensitive information.
"Anything up to 12 members of the force may have given information to the corrupt trio, not knowing the true purpose of their request," said a source.
The main gang paying the rogue gardai is based in Finglas and the criminals were associated at one stage with arch criminal the so-called 'Don'.
Internal Affairs will now arrest a drugs officer as the extent of criminal infiltration of the force became apparent this week.
The drugs unit garda is suspected of giving intelligence information to gang members.
The officer, who is attached to a station in west Dublin, was identified in the investigation which led to the arrest of another serving officer last week.
The Herald also understands that a third officer is now under investigation in relation to the probe, and up to a dozen more gardai could be internally disciplined for accessing information from the Pulse system.
Sources indicated that the officers could have looked up the information after being asked to so by a serving officer -- but were completely unaware he was leaking it to criminals.
The three rogue officers are suspected of providing information to a number of north and west Dublin crime gangs, including tip-offs about raids and details from garda intelligence files on major underworld players.
It is believed that details from hundreds of internal and top secret garda reports may have been leaked, in one of the most serious breaches of the force's internal security in recent times.
The investigation into the leaks is being coordinated by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
One of the key parts of the probe is to establish which criminals or crime gangs were given the information. Criminals in Finglas and other areas of north Dublin are suspected of being the main recipients.
The investigation was launched in the wake of a gun attack in west Dublin earlier this year. The investigation into the attack yielded information which led NBCI to one of the three rogue gardai -- the officer arrested last Friday.
This officer, in his 40s with over 20 years service in the force, was held for questioning before being released.
The man's partner, in her 40s, was also arrested, while a shotgun was found at his home.
The second garda under investigation is based in a west Dublin station, and works as part of the drugs unit there. This officer is believed to have had extensive contact with drugs criminals in west Dublin in the course of his duties.
The drugs officer would also have held important information about raids on suspects and garda surveillance.
A third officer, who is also based in the city, is also under investigation in connection with the leaks. All three allegedly worked together to leak the information, sources said.
The investigation has been greeted with anger by other officers in the city, particularly those combating serious crime.
A source told the Herald: "That so much work could be compromised like this defies belief. Hundreds of hours of work may have been wasted, and potential drug and firearms seizures compromised."
The case is the first high profile investigation into rogue gardai since an officer was convicted in the 1990s of leaking information to members of John Gilligan's crime gang.
Ex-garda John O'Neill (43) was jailed on 16 charges of accepting bribes in 1998 -- including substantial sums from Gilligan's gang. He was a former Scott Medal winner for bravery.
- Cormac Looney, EXCLUSIVE