Sunday 22 October 2017

'GSOC creaking under weight of investigating trivial complaints'

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan listens to a speech by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, left, at an event in the Department of Justice and Equality, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, earlier this year. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan listens to a speech by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, left, at an event in the Department of Justice and Equality, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, earlier this year. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Colette Browne

Colette Browne

Last week, as my bus stopped in traffic outside Leinster House, I watched a young garda on duty at the gates and wondered what he must think of the politicians pontificating inside. With just his high-visibility jacket and cap protecting him from the torrential rain, the garda was standing bolt upright, not betraying any discomfort, apparently impervious to the appalling weather.

It's not a job I, or most of you, would relish. Certainly not for a starting salary of just €23,000. And definitely not when the reputation of the force has taken such a battering in recent years.

Since late 2013, the thankless and difficult work done by rank-and-file members of An Garda Síochána has been largely erased from public discourse because of a focus on the treatment of whistleblowers.

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