11 Aug 2022

South East garda who wants to rejoin force brings new High Court action

Ex Waterford garda who wants to rejoin force brings new High Court action

A former garda who says he left the force due to the behaviour of other members has launched a fresh High Court action aimed at compelling the garda commissioner to inform him if he can rejoin the organisation. 

The action has been brought by Mark O'Neill from Kill, Co Waterford, who resigned from the force in April of 2016, having joined in September 2015. 

In interviews with superior officers, he said his reasons for leaving was due to the alleged behaviour of other members of An Garda Síochána during the time he was stationed at Wexford Garda Station.

Mr O'Neill claimed there was a failure by gardaí at the station he had worked at to perform mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints or recordings such checkpoints on the Garda PULSE system, and that there was a failure to investigate crimes.

As well as making complaints about the alcohol testing checkpoints, he also said there had been a failure to respond to emergency calls, that there was a lack of supervision of probationary gardaí, bullying and that his personal property was damaged. 

Mr O'Neill had been a member of the Garda Reserve before joining the force itself. After becoming unhappy with several issues, he resigned. 

Mr O'Neill, however, was prompted to rejoin the force by a garda superintendent and reapplied in June 2016. 

Mr O'Neill's application to rejoin was not dealt with for 12 months, and in June 2017 he was informed that his application had been refused, without any reasons being given.

As a result, he brought judicial review proceedings in the High Court against the commissioner, seeking to quash the refusal to allow him to rejoin. Those proceedings were compromised in March 2018, and Mr O'Neill reapplied to rejoin the force shortly afterwards. 

At the High Court on Monday, his counsel Mark Harty SC said Mr O'Neill is yet to receive an answer if he can rejoin the organisation.  

As a result, he has brought another set of judicial review proceedings where he seeks an order compelling the commissioner to decide on his request to rejoin An Garda Siochana.

He also seeks a declaration that a former member of An Garda Siochana seeking to rejoin the organisation is entitled to have their application determined in a timely fashion. 

The application came before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan who granted permission on an ex parte basis to bring the challenge. 

The action was adjourned to a date in June. 

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