Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Daly considers new arrest complaint

TD Clare Daly claims gardai tried to discredit her
TD Clare Daly claims gardai tried to discredit her

Independent TD Clare Daly is considering making a second complaint to the Garda watchdog about her arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.

The former Socialist Party politician has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a urine test came back showing she was significantly under the legal alcohol limit at the time.

She has already asked the Garda Ombudsman to investigate her claims that gardai leaked details of her detention in a deliberate attempt to discredit her after she raised issues of malpractice within the force.

But the Dublin North representative said she is in talks with her solicitor about the possibility of making a further complaint about her treatment during the arrest and detention in Dublin's south inner city on January 28.

Ms Daly, who admitted she drank a hot whiskey before getting behind the wheel on the night, alleges she was handcuffed, put in a cell on her own for a time and told by one officer to come back when she was sober. She was stopped and arrested by gardai after making an illegal right turn on to the South Circular Road, on her way home from a meeting. She later said she had accepted a hot whiskey for a cold after the two-hour meeting with a family, and, unfamiliar with the area, made the wrong turn.

"I was breathalysed but the equipment didn't register a reading," said Ms Daly. "I was arrested and handcuffed on the side of the road. I objected to being handcuffed and stated that I would willingly go to the Garda station. I was told by the arresting Garda that this was 'procedure'."

Ms Daly said she was then taken to Kilmainham Garda Station in a patrol car and placed in a cell on her own at one point. She was released after giving a urine sample. The TD said the official result of the sample was 45 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. The legal limit is 67 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

"I believe that the gardai implementing road safety have a job to do and I support them," she added. "However, I object strongly to the arrest, handcuffing and release of information re the arrest on suspicion of drink-driving to the tabloid press early on Tuesday. My legal advice is that none of this is 'procedure'."

The Garda Ombudsman has confirmed a complaint has been received in relation to the incident but a spokesman refused to make any further comment.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said he was aware of Ms Daly's complaint to the watchdog, which he believed would be thoroughly investigated by the body. When questioned if gardai are permitted to handcuff suspected drink-drivers, and put them in cells, as procedure, Mr Callinan said: "Well of course if a prisoner is violent and you have to deal with that prisoner, you've got to restrain him or her in any fashion. I'm not talking about this particular case now, but obviously gardai need to protect themselves as well and they have a duty of care to one another and the people around them. So yes, there are very clear guidelines in which people can be suppressed and handcuffed."

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