Gardai under pressure from PAC

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’ve just been listening to the special sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (Room 3) investigating the scandal surrounding financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

The atmosphere is more tense and more dramatic than any TV thriller.

Auditors and senior civil servants responsible for making sure the Gardai obey the law, just like the rest of us. are hanging each other out to dry in an increasingly desperate attempt to distance themselves from the overwhelming stench of corruption emanating from our by now hopelessly compromised police force.

I feel strange saying this but the chair of the committee, Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming, is doing a great job in getting answers from these very uncomfortable civil servants.

The Committee is on break at the moment but resumes action at 5 pm.

Well worth a listen for the drama and to witness just how rotten our police force and administrative system really is.

 

 

 

An Garda Siochana is a corrupt police force

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’m in the process of writing an article in response to the latest incidence of Garda corruption.  In the meantime, here’s an article I wrote three years ago in response to Garda corruption.

 

Garda/political corruption – Nothing will change

The Irish Examiner editorial describes the latest revelations in the Ian Bailey case as mind boggling.

That Gardai may have considered paying someone in order to frame a man for murder is described as not only corrupt but almost unbelievable.

The Irish Times speaks of an appalling vista and grave national concern that Gardai may have acted illegally in securing convictions in the courts.

And yet this stuff is old hat, it’s all happened before. Garda corruption in Donegal involved a whole range of crimes including framing a man for murder.

Nobody was charged, some were allowed to retire on full pension and, to my knowledge, just three gardai were fired.

In other words, major criminal acts carried out by police officers and confirmed by an Oireachtas inquiry were effectively ignored.

The political response was exactly the same as the response we are now witnessing in respect of the latest scandals.

Denial, useless internal reports, full support for the Gardai and minister, promises to legislate to prevent it happening again blah, blah, blah….

The then Justice Minister McDowell and his civil servants who drafted and introduced the ‘this must never be allowed to happen again’ legislation must have been complete morons or they deliberately drafted the law to ensure the minister and Gardai remained unaccountable.

I suspect most intelligent citizens would opt for the latter explanation.

So what’s happening now?

Well, editorials are expressing shock and outrage, politicians are expressing their unqualified confidence in the minister and the Garda and everybody is supremely confident that the interim Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, will act decisively to reform the force.

So let’s have a look at what she has done to restored confidence and clean out the corruption that’s obviously rampant within the force.

She has decided to leave in place the punishment meted out to completely vindicated Garda Maurice McCabe by her predecessor.

And she’s conducting a survey to ask rank and file members how the organisation can be improved.

Pathetic and all a bit sad so to finish I’ll express the brutal truth.

Corruption is rampant within the Gardai because our corrupt political/administrative system, by doing nothing, allowed that corruption to flourish.

That rotten system will do nothing in this instance. Things will remain exactly as they are, exactly as they were allowed to remain following the Morris Tribunal.

 

 

Breaking: New minister for investigative judges to be appointed

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

Letter in today’s Irish Times regarding the latest Garda scandal.

 

Sir,

Surely the time has now come to appoint a minister for investigative judges. The said minister would be responsible for keeping us informed of the progress being made by the growing legions of such judges and, crucially, would create yet another firewall for politicians to hide behind.

Otherwise the consequences could be an extremely serious outbreak of democratic accountability.

Yours etc,

Anthony Sheridan

Cobh, Co Cork.

Gardai and unicorns on the M50

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

I’ve just listened to Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan on Morning Ireland reply to a series of questions about the force.

The Commissioner gave the strong impression that he is the assistant leader of a modern, well funded, highly efficient police force with no problems of corruption within its ranks.

I had to go after the interview so I didn’t hear the following piece about a herd of unicorns spotted on the M50.

 

Fergus Finlay: Still living in cave of shadows

 

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By Anthony Sheridan

The following quote, taken from today’s Irish Examiner, tells us that commentator Fergus Finlay has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to analysing current/political affairs.

I’ve met Noirín O’Sullivan a couple of times, and I have to say she strikes me as someone who is down-to-earth and entirely approachable. She simply has never seemed to me to be the sort of person whose instinct would be to circle the wagons when the force is criticised, but instead to seek to get to the bottom of the problem.

I tend to believe her when she says she has never had any interest in attacking the motivation of Garda whistle-blower Maurice McCabe, or in accusing him of malice.

Before retreating to the safety of his cave of shadows Mr. Finlay tells us that he’s not questioning the work of Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford who, Finlay admits, has raised questions of the most troubling kind.

But there is no way Finlay is going to actually analyse these troubling questions. To do so would risk having to deal with the appalling vista that our police force is riven by corruption, cover ups, incompetence, low morale and that at the core of all this dysfunctionality lies the corrupt nexus between policing and politics.

Instead, Finlay, safe in his cave, suggests that the most important issue, overriding all the corruption of recent decades, is the abolition of the bottom two points of the Haddington Road pay scale for junior Gardai.

Meanwhile, the corruption goes on and justice for the victims is as far away as ever.

Copy to:

Fergus Finlay

Gardai and ‘threatening’ water protesters

A standard strategy of blackening the name of an individual or group is to make connections between that individual or group with the illegal or threatening behaviour of others.

Here’s the vice president of the Garda Representative Association Ciaran O’Neill speaking on RTE (5th report) about the relationship between Gardai and water protesters.

People want to see Guards working in their community but when you have a number who are brought off to monitor a protest to ensure that it’s peaceful it does drain other resources and communities are being deprived of policing because of it.

The message here is clear: Those who engage in peaceful, democratic protests are depriving communities of police protection. The clear suggestion is that such protests should stop.

There seems to be a sinister element that are trying to get themselves involved with the protests. It would appear that there is an element that have very nefarious reasons for being there that are anti-establishment, that are trying to cause trouble and are bringing good people whose intentions are just to protest peacefully and are creating violent situations.

Police officers have an obligation to inform citizens, and particularly those involved in the water protests, of who exactly these sinister elements are. What are their motives, their strategies, how exactly are they manipulating peaceful protesters. Throwing out vague references about ‘sinister elements’ without evidence mirrors the political strategy of mainstream political parties.

We have a job to do…but we have people, particularly in respect to the water protests, who are trying to identify members of An Garda Siochana. We’ve had rewards offered to identify where they live and to identify their families and that shouldn’t be happening, that’s not peaceful, that’s not protesting in a proper way, that’s threatening, intimidating.

Threatening a police officer is, to my knowledge, a crime. The Gardai should investigate and bring charges if sufficient evidence is found but it is disturbing to witness a police officer lump in peaceful protesters with a tiny minority who may be breaking the law.

It is reasonable to claim, I believe, that the water protests in Ireland involving hundreds of thousands of citizens are probably the most peaceful, most law abiding protests in recent world history.

Which raises the question – Why is the establishment so determined to blacken the reputation of those involved in such democratic protests?

Political interference with Gardai must end

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has called for an end to political interference with the force (Irish Examiner).

The organisation cannot look for permission to speak from a political master. As it stands, too many careers are dependent upon political interference.

There will be no real reform of our dysfunctional police force until this rotten nexus between politicians and senior police officers is permanently removed.

Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

It’s not often a minister for justice makes me laugh but the latest comment on police reform from Frances Fitzgerald had me in stitches.

Making excuses for her complete failure to establish a police authority the minister said that, in the meantime;

A kind of shadow board would be set up.

Ok, let me first state an absolute fact. This government will not set up a police authority. The next government; if it is spawned from the same corrupt political/administrative culture, will not set up a police authority.

The reason is simple; the establishment of a genuinely independent police authority would end the corrupt nexus between the body politic and the police force. That corrupt nexus has served the interests of politicians, their friends in the Golden Circle and senior police officers since the foundation of the state; it will remain firmly in place for so long as that culture exists.

What we will see is the establishment of a fake police authority, an authority that from the outside looks and acts as if it’s the real thing but, in reality, is a fraud.

The setting up of fake regulatory agencies is the single greatest achievement of our corrupt political system. These fake authorities are so successful that they have not only fooled ordinary citizens, they have fooled the media, the international community and even many of the politicians who established them in the first place.

The system can best be understood by comparing it to those fake Hollywood wild west towns built to make cowboy movies.

Walking down the main street everything looks real so long as nobody actually believes there’s anything of substance behind the facades.

So, for example, when a citizen opens the door marked ‘Financial Regulator’ they find themselves in a wilderness populated by drifting tumbleweeds, each one with a tag reading – secrecy laws forbids the answering of any questions.

When the door marked ‘Standards in Public Office’ is opened citizens are met by an official endlessly chanting – Political accountability? No, never heard of it. We just dig holes in the sand and fill them in again.

When the Troika arrived they already knew there was something odd about the way things were done in this town so they opened more doors than usual.

Inside the austere and impressive door to the legal system, for example, they found mountains of stolen loot surrounded by hundreds of partying solicitors and barristers. Clear out this den of iniquity they instructed the government, we’ll be back to check on it.

When they returned a year later they failed to notice that the apparent reform activity was an act performed by actors hired for the day from a nearby spaghetti western movie set. The drunken party was (and still is) continuing just over the hill.

Down at the end of the town there’s a brand new, freshly painted building with the title, Charity Regulator. Inside there’s a large office with an impressive array of filing cabinets, desks and stern looking officials.

On closer inspection however, the files are just blank paper, the desks are made of balsa wood and the officials are shop mannequins.

So what, at first glance, looks like a real regulator turns out to be nothing more than the usual cynical exercise in deception.

Because it’s new, no citizen has yet been damaged by this latest fake regulator but, in time, thousands will suffer just as countless thousands have suffered when, in desperation and trust, they opened the doors of other so-called regulators only to find themselves slowly strangled to death in an arid desert of ruthless, self-serving bureaucracy and political corruption.

Copy to:
Frances Fitzgerald