Tuesday 17 January 2017

Garda group-think: the force has form

Despite the evidence, Garda chief Martin Callinan rejects the need for reform, writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 26/01/2014 | 02:30

WHEN the police are checking allegations about someone, they'll look at that person's record. Does the supposed suspect have "previous"? If so, it doesn't prove guilt, but it suggests a pattern of behaviour, a capacity to act in a certain way, that may be relevant to the current case.

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So, when we look at the row currently raging between politicians and the Garda Commissioner, there are things we need to bear in mind. And, by the way, this is indeed a proper row. It's not just a disagreement on ways and means – this is an emotional confrontation. The angry commissioner blatantly resents the impertinence of the Public Accounts Committee ("those people") who dare to assess an aspect of his stewardship.

It's a conflict between a policing body and the civilian authority. And it's complicated by the fact that there are many politicians who back the police, whatever the circumstances. As for "previous" . . .

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