By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The case of a Garda superintendent who is seeking a pardon for his dismissal from the force more than 70 years ago for allegedly accepting bribes from the IRA is to be considered by the government.
William Geary, who lives in New York and celebrated his 100th birthday on Feb. 28, had consistently protested his innocence since he was dismissed in 1928.
Justice Minister John O’Donoghue told the Dail that the "possibility that he was framed has to be considered."
A spokesman for the minister said it would take "three to four weeks" for a recommendation to made by the Department to the Government and a decision arrived at.
The spokesman denied reports that Defense Minister Michael Smith, who is attending the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade, would be bringing a pardon for Geary.
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The former superintendent, who was a native of Limerick, was stationed at Kilrush, Co. Clare, in 1928 when he was called before then Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy and told his superiors had reason to believe he was providing information to the IRA in return for bribes.
He denied the accusation and thought there would be a court of inquiry. None was held, however, and he was dismissed by order of the Irish Free State Executive Council.
A few months later Geary immigrated to New York.
O’Donoghue told the Dail there had been a number of reviews of his case but each came to the conclusion that there were no new facts that would justify overturning the original 1928 decision.
"In the 1970s an in-depth investigation was carried out to establish if he had in fact been set up by the IRA. However, the inquiry was inconclusive because as far as could be established all the individuals who had been in the IRA at the time, and who would have been privy to
that information, had since passed away."
The minister said that Geary had not given access to the full information against him at the time of his dismissal, but last month he had sent him all the relevant papers with the names of other individuals blanked out to "protect their privacy and that of any surviving family."
"Shortly after this new information was released, two written submissions were made on his behalf," O’Donoghue said. "The latest of these arrived on March 5, 1999 and I am now considering them with a view to bringing a recommendation to government for a decision."