A former senior South Australian police officer is being investigated in Ireland over alleged links with an organised crime group.
Former Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Taggart, who left SA in late 2018, was arrested by Irish police last week but later released without charge as investigations into his alleged links to a well-known crime figure continue.
The Irish investigation was sparked after Taggart, aged in his 60s, admitted to colleagues he had attended a party to celebrate Gerry “The Monk” Hutch being found not guilty of murder on April 17.
The notorious Irish crime figure was also the prime suspect for two of the biggest armed robberies in Irish history.
Taggart was an SA police officer for over 44 years before he left in 2018 to work as an investigator for the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission in Dublin, where he has been for the past five years.
The GSOC provides an independent oversight and investigates allegations against members of the Garda Siochana, Ireland’s national police force.
While in SA, Taggart worked in many of SA Police’s most sensitive areas, including the Drug and Organised Crime Squads, Police Corrections Section, Internal Investigations Branch and the Anti-Corruption Branch. He also worked as an investigator in royal commissions into police corruption interstate.
The investigation was initially carried out by his GSOC colleagues to determine if he had breached any internal conduct regulations, but then taken over and widened by detectives from Garda’s National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Taggart resigned from GSOC on April 21 after his initial questioning over attending the celebration for Hutch.
Last Thursday NBCI detectives raided Taggart’s Dublin home and he was arrested on suspicion of breaching a section of the Garda Siochana Act.
As part of the ongoing inquiry detectives are investigating his unrestricted access to confidential police organised crime intelligence and if that has been compromised.
Taggart was questioned and released without charge after being held for 24 hours, with Garda stating a file was being prepared for consideration by the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions.
A Garda statement issued on Friday said it had submitted a report to the Irish Minister for Justice Simon Harris outlining the action it had taken.
Harris said he had met with the Garda commissioner to discuss the case.
“I met the Garda Commissioner and I met the commissioners of GSOC in relation to this ongoing Garda inquiry, and the steps that have been taken to refer the matter from GSOC to the Garda,’’ he said.
“I think what today shows without commenting in any way on a live investigation, what today shows is the appropriateness of the decision to refer this matter from GSOC to the Garda.”
“I have said since first becoming aware of this, that it was important that if there’s any potential criminal wrongdoing, that the only place for that to go in terms of an investigation was Garda Síochana. I think what we’re now seeing is the Garda taking this seriously, and applying the appropriate level of priority to this matter.”
“Obviously, we can’t comment further on what is a live investigation.”
Former SA cop Paul Taggart investigated over links to Irish crime figure Gerry Hutch. The Advertiser, May 1, 2023..