18 Aug 2022

Man wants to know why a dozen gardai and sniffer dogs forcibly entered and searched his home

A social worker does not know why over "a dozen gardai accompanied with sniffer dogs" forcibly entered and searched his home in Dundalk, the High Court has heard.

As a result of being left in the dark over the incident Ryan Moran has brought a High Court action seeking to be provided with the information used by Gardai to procure the warrant, and a copy of the warrant itself, to search his Dundalk home on April 21st last.

He has not been questioned nor charged with any offence by the Gardai, and the court heard that the search, which resulted in his home being damaged, may have been a case of 'mistaken identity.'

Mr Moran claims he has been left distraught over the search, and no longer feels safe in his own home.

He also claims his good reputation has been damaged and a cloud of suspicion has attached to him as a result of the search.

Mr Moran's counsel Mark Murphy Bl instructed by solicitor James MacGuill, told the High Court that his client received a call at 8.45pm on the night in question from a neighbour that Gardai intended to "raid" his home at Inniscrew Mews, Avenue Road, Dundalk Co Louth. 

Officers entered his home, and searched the premises for approximately 25 minutes.

Mr Moran was working a night shift at the time, and could not leave his post to return home. 

He returned home the following morning when his shift was completed.

On arrival he found the door "off its hinges" open, and his home was "in a complete state of disarray." 

He sought information from the Gardai that day as to why his dwelling had been searched, but was not provided with any answers.

He tried to secure the property as best he could, but said that the door frame and lock were badly damaged. He left for work the night, April 22nd.

On his return from work on the morning of the 23rd April he discovered that €5,500 worth of items, including a laptop computer, TV and a guitar were taken from his property.

He reported the theft of these items to the Gardai. 

In the following days and weeks, he made several more requests for a copy of the warrant and the information that grounded the decision to search his home from the Gardai.

He has not been provided with any of the material sought, which he says he is legally entitled to.

The court heard Mr Moran did get a phone call from a garda who allegedly initiated the search, telling him that the search was legitimate, and that the gardai are not obliged to hand over the information sought.

The Garda also told Mr Moran that he had spoken to his (Morans) solicitor and conveyed the relevant information to him.

Mr Moran's solicitors have not received any communication from the Garda about the search.

Counsel said that after several months his client still does not know why gardai entered his home, and believes that it may be a case of mistaken identity.

Civil proceedings may be taken by Mr Moran as a result of what happened, counsel said.

Counsel said that following the search has not been charged or questioned by Gardai.

Had that been the case, counsel said, then Mr Moran would be entitled to a copy of the warrant, counsel said.

In judicial review proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, Ireland and the Attorney General Mr Moran seeks an order that he be provided with a copy of the warrant and the information relied upon to search his home.

He also seeks various declarations including that the refusal to provide him with this material amounts to breach of his Constitutional and ECHR rights, including his rights to fair procedures, his reputation, the inviolability of his home and access to justice.

He further seeks damages for the breach of his rights.

The case came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan, who on an ex-parte basis, granted Mr Moran permission to bring his challenge.

The judge made the matter returnable to a date in November.

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