Monday 27 February 2017

Garda claims must be dealt with urgently

Editorial

Editorial

Morale among gardaí is at an all-time low; the possibility that there could by systemic bullying and intimidation will further undermine and damage the force. Stock photo
Morale among gardaí is at an all-time low; the possibility that there could by systemic bullying and intimidation will further undermine and damage the force. Stock photo

A culture of secrecy can only be maintained in a climate of fear and distrust where silence is the price paid for acceptance. Step out of that circle and alienation and isolation are assured. The prospect of such an atmosphere pervading in any organisation is anathema, and for there to be the remotest possibility that it could exist within An Garda Síochána cannot go unchallenged.

The revelation that there has been a series of grave complaints of malpractice made by two senior gardaí, of a concerted campaign within An Garda Síochána to discredit a whistleblower, is shocking and abhorrent.

It is understood that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will appoint a senior member of the judiciary to examine the sensational claims. Incendiary allegations that bullying and intimidation have been going on within the force without sanction have in the past been roundly denied. There were robust rebuttals on the grounds that those who sought to bring abuse complaints forward would be protected and channels would be open all the way to the top. That a new wave of damning charges should surface within months of the O'Higgins report is disturbing, and could have serious implications.

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