| 8.8°C Dublin

Sinead Ryan: At last...instead of delay and spin, someone has actually said sorry and done something

You wait years and years for a Government apology for something and along come two at the same time.

We've heard politicians and garda bosses roundly condemning the gardai involved in making scurrilous remarks about women in their custody down in Corrib in the so-called "rape tape".

The swift action by Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday, hot on the heels of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, to (a) admit something happened quickly and (b) apologise for it even if it wasn't their fault, was a welcome and refreshing change.


Shatter quickly and without fuss ordered a report -- a real one, it seems, and not to gather dust on a shelf until the entire unsavoury incident 'goes away' -- and got it from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan within days, before the story had left the headlines.

Without hesitation, Callinan moved the five culprits to desk duty in Castlebar to stew in their own fate together, hanging their heads in collective shame and pondering their future as guardians of the public peace.

"I am sorry for the offence caused to the community we serve and for the hurt and pain felt, in particular, by victims of sexual crime," said their boss and you can hear the anger and disappointment seething.

Good luck to these guys ever processing more than a parking ticket again.

Already, at near whirlwind speed for anything like this, the report is up before the Garda Ombudsman Commission, which does its own thing now.

All these things are not just proper and correct. They are fast.

And you know, in all walks of public life -- economic, criminal, political -- that's the one thing that has always annoyed people: why does everything take so damn long?

Why are there committees set up, dozens of reports generated and so rarely anything done?

Well, if this incident is anything to go by, it proves what my colleague Terry Prone always advises: stand up, put your hand up, deal with it, move on.

Swift action is always more likely to reassure people rather than long-finger exercises. More please.