An Irish police officer will this week face a disciplinary inquiry having been suspended for three years after giving an unclaimed bicycle to a "vulnerable and isolated" man in a rural area who needed help getting to the shops during the Covid pandemic.
The Irish Independent reports the unnamed garda only returned to work in late 2023 after the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) deemed that he had "no criminal case" to answer. He will however face a sworn disciplinary inquiry on Tuesday and is facing a number of possible sanctions, including reprimand, a fine, a caution, or even dismissal from the force.
It is reported the garda has "significant support" from his peers over the matter, many of whom will be hoping he is cleared of all wrongdoing by the disciplinary inquiry.
The three-year suspension began following raids by NBCI gardaí at both his home in front of his wife and children, and at the home of the elderly man who had received the bicycle during the pandemic as a means of travelling to the shops, the resident described as "vulnerable and isolated" by sources and living in a rural area, his own bike no longer in working order.
The man had spoken to the officer about the issue. He decided to give the "isolated" resident an unclaimed bicycle that had been in the force's posession for "some time previously" as nobody had come forward to claim it, often due to the fact a bike has been stolen but unclaimed (although the exact circumstances of the relevant bike in this case are not known).
The garda had failed to fill out the appropriate paperwork, prompting investigation, the raids and his suspension, despite being described as an officer approaching retirement from an "exemplary" career.
The bike was taken from the elderly man during the raid on his home, the separate raid on the garda's home undertaken in the presence of his family and causing "great distress". It is reported he had "no idea" he was under investigation until the raid took place.
Tuesday's inquiry will be adjudicated by a legal professional, a superintendent, and a chief superintendent who are unconnected to the case, the garda returning to "restricted duties" work since the back end of last year when he was reinstated having been found to have "no criminal case" to answer. His policing future will be decided upon tomorrow.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.