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29 Nov 2021

Policing Authority Chair criticises garda response to 999 calls controversy

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The Chairperson of the Irish Policing Authority (PA) has admitted that he is "perplexed in the extreme" by the response of gardaí regarding the cancelled emergency calls controversy.

Mr Bob Collins made the comments while discussing a controversial internal Garda review which came to light a number of months ago.

It found that, on 23,000 calls made between January 1 2019 and October 31 2020, that 2,689 calls to the emergency helpline were invalid cancellations.

The review also identified 114 calls, 5 per cent of the invalid cancelled calls, were described as "crime incidents."

An Garda Síochana has since said the "key problem" regarding those calls was that they were not properly recorded on their Pulse system.

Following this, Deputy Garda Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon told the PA tha a categorical assurance that no individual had come to any physical harm as a result of cancelled calls.

According to a report by BreakingNews.ie, Ms McMahon told a meeting on Thursday: "114 calls have now been transferred onto Pulse, and based on our victim engagement, and our subsequent call backs arising from this review, we are satisfied that no harm was caused by lack of initial engagement."

"No calls cancelled; every call was answered," she added.

Despite this, Mr Collins has claimed that Ms McMahon's response was inaccurate: "This is not what An Garda Síochána said, this is not was said to me when I was in the command and control centre in Galway for the north-western region."

"I listened to calls; more of them than I did... other colleagues listened to calls."

He added that the calls did not represent the provision of a service "that would allow one to say that there were no issues."

Mr Collins further said that 114 "is not a tiny number" for the amount of calls to be allegedly ignored by gardaí.

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