Wednesday 14 November 2018

Editorial Comment: Guerin exposes failures in gardai and Government

Senior Counsel Sean Guerin. Photo: Mark Condren
Senior Counsel Sean Guerin. Photo: Mark Condren

THE Guerin Report published yesterday reveals a catalogue of failures at a senior level in the gardai, the Department of Justice and in present and previous governments. At the heart of events over the last six years, since Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe first made his concerns known, is a culture of secrecy and a lack of proper oversight. At the highest level, in both An Garda Siochana and the Department of Justice, legitimate complaints went unheeded.

Sean Guerin SC has outlined the facts in cold, dispassionate prose. But at the centre of his 336-page report lies a chilling paragraph that sums up the deficiencies in the management of An Garda Siochana which has led us to this extraordinary mess, to the recent resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Justice Minister Alan Shatter, and to the establishment of yet another time consuming and no doubt expensive Commission of Inquiry.

Among his conclusions, Mr Guerin states: "No complex organisation can succeed in its task if it cannot find the means of heeding the voice of a member whose immediate supervisors hold in the high regard in which Sgt McCabe was held. Ultimately An Garda Siochana does not seem to have been able to do that. Nor does the Minister for Justice and Equality, despite his having an independent supervisory and investigation function with specific statutory powers. The same appears true of GSOC (Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission), although this review is hampered in that regard by the fact that GSOC has not made documentation available."

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