Kerry Chief Supt outlines phone call procedures

Friday 28 March 2014 21.55
The Garda Chief Superintendent of the Kerry Division has been outlining the procedures of telephone recording
The Garda Chief Superintendent of the Kerry Division has been outlining the procedures of telephone recording

The Garda Chief Superintendent of the Kerry Division has been outlining the procedures of telephone recording in the main garda station in the division.

Speaking on Radio Kerry, Chief Superintendent Pat Sullivan said he is "very confident" no legal case from the division has or will be put at risk as a result of the recording practice.

Mr Sullivan said recording of emergency calls took place in Tralee and the main switchboard number to the control room, but this would only be as a back-up to the 999 service.

Such recordings only took place in Tralee and in none of the other 37 stations, which were now reduced to 25 stations in the division.

He also said in his experience no conversation between a solicitor and a client had been recorded, as the cells or downstairs area of the station in Tralee had separate lines to the main control room and these lines were not recorded.

However, once calls were transferred from the main switch to internal lines, the recording "immediately" stopped.

No calls were ever recorded between solicitors and clients, Superintendent Sullivan told Radio Kerry.

Emergency calls were recorded, and the reason for recording incoming calls to the main switch was as "a back-up" to the 999 emergency service.

"We have never utilised these tapes in court cases that I am aware of," said Superintendent Sullivan, who has served most of his career in the Kerry Division.

"I have no reason to believe any case would be compromised down through the years in Kerry."

Tralee was the only station to have recording equipment and only technical gardaí would have had access to the recordings. Local gardaí would not have such access.

Superintendent Sullivan said he would be "very, very confident" there was no issue with any case in the division.

Solicitors and clients spoke through a line separate from the control room and that was" definitely not" recorded.

The senior garda's remarks come as a number of solicitors in the Kerry Division expressed concern in the wake of the garda telephone controversy.

There were suggestions in one local newspaper that the practice was taking place in Killarney Garda Station, but this was denied by the chief superintendent.

Pa Daly, a Sinn Féin Tralee town councillor and one of the town's busiest solicitors, told local newspaper Kerry's Eye he had stopped talking to clients by telephone after the Morris Tribunal into garda corruption in Donegal.

Other high-profile solicitors ,including Pat Mann of Tralee and Padraig O'Connell of Killarney, had also expressed concern.