Sunday 26 February 2017

Garda group-think: the force has form

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

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.

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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