Irish police to probe claims of Gerry Ryan coke cover-up
RTE denies it turned blind eye to drug use
Gardai are to investigate allegations that members of the force protected public figures, including Gerry Ryan, from investigation over drug use.
Outgoing Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy announced the dramatic move last night following claims that some officers turned a blind eye to the drug habits of certain rich and famous individuals.
The development came as Gareth O'Callaghan, a former colleague of the late 2fm DJ, revealed he was to be interviewed by detectives today in relation to information he has about cocaine use by Mr Ryan and other high-profile stars.
An inquest heard earlier this month that cocaine was the likely trigger for a cardiac arrhythmia that led to Mr Ryan's death last April.
Mr O'Callaghan claims to know the identity of a drug dealer who provided cocaine to Mr Ryan (53) and also the identities of a number of other celebrities who use the drug.
However, last night RTE said management had received "no reports or alerts" that Mr Ryan had been taking drugs.
In a statement it said that any suggestions that RTE was tolerant of drug taking were "unwarranted and unfounded".
Separately, Mr Murphy has instructed the Assistant Commissioner for Dublin, Michael Feehan, to begin an inquiry into claims that gardai failed to act against a known drug dealer reputed to supply cocaine to well-known figures.
The allegation was contained in an article in a Sunday newspaper also reported senior figures in the gardai and Department of Justice privately believed that a small number of corrupt gardai protected rich and public figures with drug habits.
A statement issued by Garda Headquarters last night said it had "no knowledge of any senior gardai or officials who hold such views".
However, it said Mr Murphy had ordered the investigation because of the gravity and prominence of the allegations.
He has instructed officers to speak to the newspaper's editor and its reporters about the report.
The statement said officers would examine whether there was any information supporting the allegations that merited further investigation.
"Clearly, we take any allegation of misconduct very seriously and anyone who has evidence of wrongdoing on the part of a member of the gardai or of any criminal activity on the part of any individual, should inform gardai in order that the matter can be thoroughly investigated," the statement said.
Mr O'Callaghan (49) told the Irish Independent that he was due to be interviewed by gardai in Blanchardstown, Dublin, about a number of claims he had made in media interviews in recent weeks.
He said he had information about other media personalities at RTE using Class A drugs.
"I am going to discuss what I know and what I have been told.
"The gardai say they are very interested in talking to me, but I'm not going to say any more until I have spoken to them," Mr O'Callaghan said last night.
The well-known broadcaster, who previously stood in for Gerry Ryan on his 2fm programme, has made a series of allegations in recent days.
These include that:
- Mr Ryan took cocaine while co-hosting the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.
- The late broadcaster offered him the drug at a Christmas party.
- He knows the identity of the drug dealer who supplied Mr Ryan.
- He is aware of at least four more high-profile media stars using cocaine.
Mr O'Callaghan is set to co-operate with gardai despite claiming to have suffered "intimidation" since going public with his information.
"There has been a fair bit of intimidation from people saying that I have let Gerry down," he said.
"I feel very vulnerable but don't feel I have done anything wrong.
"I have had phone calls from people who have been very scathing with their comments, whose comments to me have been very hurtful.
"They claim I am doing this for my own publicity, which I am not. I don't need any publicity. I think I have made a lot of people extremely uncomfortable. That's the reason why these people have called," he added.
The presenter, who now hosts a breakfast programme on the 4fm radio station, said that he had the "full support" of his current employers and wasn't worried about burning bridges with his former employers.