Kieran Boylan: the drug dealer licensed to trade
He was helped by the transport department and gardai
For years Kieran Boylan enjoyed a mutually profitable arrangement with rogue gardai. In return for him setting up drug seizures, a blind eye was turned to the convicted criminal’s own activities, enabling him to become a prolific drug trafficker.
Detectives received intelligence on the criminal underworld and drug captures which boosted their career prospects. But Boylan enjoyed a level of protection and assistance which is being investigated by the garda ombudsman, amid allegations that he was allowed to pursue illegal activities unhindered.
It has emerged that the drugs trafficker was issued with two road-haulage operator’s licences by the Department of Transport in contravention of its own rules which stipulate that licence holders be of good character.
According to the government’s register of licensed hauliers, Boylan was issued with two separate licences by the Department of Transport while he was considered a priority target for the security services in Ireland, Britain and Holland, all of whom identified him as a drugs wholesaler involved in trafficking heroin and cocaine across Europe.
His current licence was issued last September. The Department of Transport’s decision followed discussions with gardai, but it was entirely within the officials’ power to refuse to grant the permit.
The licence entitles Boylan to operate a haulage service under the trade name Alan International. It was registered using the Irish version of his name, Ciaran O’Baoighallan, immediately after charges against him for drugs trafficking were dropped in controversial circumstances by the director of public prosecutions in July.
The charges related to the seizure of heroin and cocaine worth €1.7m at a truckers’ yard in Ardee, Co Louth, by the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU) in October 2005. In issuing the licence the transport department was aware of Boylan’s status as a serious criminal.
Six weeks ago Boylan asked officials to change the name on his haulage licence to the Irish version. Officials at the haulage licensing department in Galway initially refused to agree to the change of name, but were instructed to comply with the request by the transport department in Dublin.
The criminal is said to have produced a new passport and driving licence, also issued in his Irish name, as proof of his identity when dealing with the transport department’s licensing division.
The licence, which allows Boylan to operate three road-haulage vehicles, will not expire until September 2013. It enables him to travel freely across Europe, where he is unlikely to draw attention from police and customs officers who will not be aware of the Irish-language version of Boylan’s name.
The circumstances behind the issuing of an earlier haulage licence in May 2003 are equally controversial. Boylan was given it after being released from a British prison where he had served a 7.5-year sentence imposed in 1997 for drug smuggling.
In this licence application, Boylan denied that he had a criminal record. A year later, in the summer of 2004, a whistleblower called the Department of Transport to point out that Boylan was a convicted drugs trafficker. This tip-off prompted an inquiry into his licence.
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The department wrote to garda headquarters asking for more information. The request was referred to gardai in the Louth/Meath division where Boylan was operating the trucking business and secretly smuggling drugs. Gardai from the division sent back a report confirming that Boylan was a convicted drug smuggler and pointing out that he was also facing charges relating to the seizure of heroin and cocaine worth €750,000 at Dublin Port in December 2003 after an operation led by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
This information was not relayed to the Department of Transport, according to garda and departmental sources. Instead, officials were told by gardai that Boylan had no “drugs convictions”.
Boylan told a number of witnesses that he had a friend in the force who had “sorted the matter out”. His haulage licence was not revoked but expired last May, requiring him to apply for a new one.
Security sources claim that Boylan participated in a number of extra-judicial operations, setting up drugs hauls for gardai to “seize”. In return for his help, it is claimed that some gardai turned a blind eye to Boylan’s own drug trafficking.
The conspiracy was exposed by the seizure of €1.7m worth of drugs at Boylan’s truck yard in 2005, at a time when he was on bail. He was subsequently given a five-year sentence for the Dublin Port haul, with two years suspended, and served just over two years. He was freed in late 2007.
Garda sources believe the case against him for the Ardee drugs haul, which could have resulted in a 10-year sentence on conviction, was withdrawn after Boylan threatened to reveal details of these operations in court at his trial.
Prior to the collapse of the case, the DPP was advised that Boylan believed he was working for gardai at the time of his arrest. Internal garda files, however, confirm that he was not “a registered source”.
The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) began investigating Boylan’s “relationship” with the force in 2007 following a complaint by a couple in Co Louth who claimed their lives were threatened in July 2004 after they tipped off gardai about a drugs find that Boylan organised.
The couple found 14kg of drugs, possibly heroin or cocaine, in Boylan’s truck yard and told gardai. No action was taken and in the days that followed the couple say they were threatened by the criminal, who boasted of having “friends” in the force.
The GSOC investigation was upgraded to a full public interest inquiry last October after the DPP dropped the drug trafficking charges relating to the Ardee drugs haul.
April 19, 2009