Tuesday 25 April 2017

Eddie Molloy: Deep-rooted dark forces in Garda are intent on obstructing reform

Former garda and whistleblower John Wilson leaving Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Former garda and whistleblower John Wilson leaving Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke

Eddie Molloy

When Maurice McCabe and John Wilson began to blow the whistle on the rampant scrubbing of penalty points and more serious failings in An Garda Síochána, a flood of people came forward with claims of misbehaviour ranging from bullying to failures to properly investigate murders. A few of these cases were aired in the media with complainants telling of their frustration in securing a fair response from the Garda.

Such was the volume of cases, estimated at the time at around 200, the Department of Justice set up a panel of five barristers to examine these complaints and identify those that seemed to merit further investigation. This process was initiated in early 2014 but since then there has been no public report on the work of the panel. How many cases merited further investigation? On what basis were complaints deemed to be vexatious or otherwise unworthy of further investigations? Was there any pattern to the complaints?

I am aware of the details of one of these 200 complaints. I listened for six hours to a civil servant who, at junior rank 15 years earlier, had the courage and integrity to refuse to collude in covering up what she saw as failures of the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and another agency to investigate matters of the most serious kind. Because of this brave woman's steadfast refusal to withdraw her allegations, her career was destroyed and her personal life greatly affected by the treatment meted out to her by senior officials in the department and by senior gardaí.

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