Wednesday 24 January 2018

Elaine Byrne: It's time the gardai put justice above reputation

Recent cases highlight the urgent need for a new transparency in the force so it can retain our trust, says Elaine Byrne

Garda Commisoner Martin Callinan
Garda Commisoner Martin Callinan

Elaine Byrne

We are very good in Ireland at using euphemisms to disguise the truth. The past is always a foreign country where things were done differently. Serious failings are dismissed as the isolated incidents of just a few rotten apples. We move on and forget, over and over until it happens again.

In the words of the Smithwick tribunal, this "culture of failing adequately to address suggestions of wrongdoing, either for reasons of political expediency or by virtue of misguided loyalty, has been a feature of life in this State".

None more so than An Garda Siochana. Five recent incidents alone suggest that the gardai are not independent from political interference nor are they democratically accountable. Those are not words I use lightly.

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