Garda charged with disclosing Garda PULSE data

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

A GARDA has appeared in court charged with the unauthorised disclosure of Garda PULSE personal data relating to 14 individuals to a co-accused charged with a drug trafficking offence.

At Ennis District Court, Shane Flanagan (39), of Lifford Road, Ennis, County Clare is facing 14 separate counts of disclosing personal data on the Garda PULSE Information system to another person on dates between January 12 and September 24 2020.

The charges relate to Mr Flanagan disclosing the personal data without authorisation from the Garda PULSE system to Colm Meere (43), of Knockanean, Ennis, County Clare, of 14 separate individuals and only their initials are provided on the charges in order to protect their identity.

Mr Flanagan is charged under the Data Protection Act. Detective Sergeant Paul English gave evidence of arrest, charge, and caution of Mr Flanagan before court and said that Mr Flanagan made no reply after caution.

Mr Flanagan’s co-accused, Colm Meere, is facing companion PULSE charges where he is charged with inciting Flanagan to disclose personal data from the Garda PULSE Information system on the same 14 individuals on the same dates. Those charges are also under the Data Protection Act.

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Mr Meere is also facing a drug trafficking charge where on April 14 2022, at Henry Garda Station in Limerick City, within a 161 D vehicle, did possess a number of articles including a tick list, bag sealer, tin foil, scissors, baggies, mobile phone, purple folder, and a number of Dunnes Stores bags “in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that these articles were in your possession for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, facilitation, or instigation of a drug trafficking offence”.

The charge is under the Criminal justice Act 2007.

Judge Alec Gabbett granted legal aid to solicitor Daragh Hassett to represent Mr Meere.

Mr Hassett said that he was acting as agent for solicitor Dan O’Gorman in the Shane Flanagan case and the issue of legal aid could be raised with Mr O’Gorman at a future court date in the case.

After reading the PULSE charges in the Meere case, Judge Gabbett asked: “Is this a GSOC matter?”

In reply, Inspector David Finnerty said “no”.

Inspector Finnerty gave evidence of arrest, charge, and caution and said that Mr Meere made no reply after charge and caution.

Inspector Finnerty told the court that there was no objection to bail on condition that Mr Meere have no contact with his co-accused, Shane Flanagan.

Sergeant John Burke said that DPP directions are that both cases are to proceed on indictment and a Book of Evidence will be required.

Sergeant Burke said that the preparation of the Book of Evidence will involve a lot of documentation and requested an adjournment to September.

Mr Flanagan was also granted bail on condition he have no contact with co-accused, Colm Meere.

Judge Gabbett remanded both men on bail to appear before Ennis District Court in September.