Gardai have begun an internal investigation – to hunt down the member of the force who leaked incorrect information about the suspect for the Dublin crèche knife attack.
The Irish Mirror has confirmed that a chief superintendent began an investigation into the now-deleted article on the Gript website early yesterday. Sources say bosses felt they had no option but to begin the internal inquiry after Gript said the information came from a Garda source.
The story was published earlier this week and falsely claimed that the Algerian-born suspect had had his application to remain in the state supported by two Irish NGOs. The article did not name the person, but went into detail about his status in this country over the past number of years.
Sources say the person the article referred to is, in fact, a completely different individual - who is not the suspect.
Gript acknowledged its mistake in a statement on Thursday and took down the article. Gript editor John McGuirk said in his statement on Thursday: "Gript Media’s original reporting was sourced from a member of an Garda Siochana.
"It was further cross-checked against publicly available records, and while the name of the suspect was not reported, that name was put to a senior Justice official on the basis of an informal 'cross-check' before publication." He acknowledged the article was wrong and said the website was carrying out its own investigation – but now gardai are on the case.
A spokesman confirmed it was carrying out an investigation after Mr McGuirk pointed to the initial information coming from a member of the force. The spokesman said: "An Garda Siochana has appointed a Chief Superintendent to examine the public allegation made by Gript.ie in relation to this matter."
It is now likely Garda investigators will approach Gript as part of their probe to see if they will give up details of their source – but Mr McGuirk told us that would not be happening. He said: "There is absolutely no question of Gript Media co-operating with such an investigation.
"The protection of sources is a fundamental principle of journalism, even if it means prison time or prosecution for the journalist. We will abide by this principle."
For all the latest news from Dublin and surrounding areas visit our homepage.
Join our Dublin Live breaking news service on WhatsApp. Click this link to receive your daily dose of Dublin Live content. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice.