Maurice McCabe persecution – frankly disgusting

There’s nothing new about the Garda attempts to destroy Maurice McCabe using false accusations of sexual abuse. Indeed, this technique is such a normal part of Garda procedures that they don’t even realise it might be wrong. And of course, due to the flawed recruitment structures of our national police force, all senior Gardai started out as junior Gardai, carrying with them throughout their careers the lessons they learned in their teens and twenties . Their attitudes were formed in the quasi-monastic environment of Templemore, their certainties were reinforced in the daily drudge of street-duty and the message they learned is a simple one: It’s Us against Them.

Since there has until recently been no induction from outside, there is no cleansing of the water. All the senior management are former grunts who paid their dues by pounding the beat. They all ate the doughnuts and they all had their hawks. Because nobody from outside has ever been appointed to lead the organisation, there has been no possibility of introducing a new vision, uncontaminated by the stale, cynical thinking of the past.

What are the chances, then, of a Garda Commissioner being shocked by some of the shadier practices ingrained in the force? Why would a Commissioner coming from this gene pool not consider it perfectly legitimate for members of the force to smear a perceived enemy with foul sexual slurs?

Some years ago, I was friendly with a Garda, and we shared many enjoyable jugs of ale together. He was a nice guy but with a tendency to be indiscreet, and he told with great glee the stories of how they searched the homes of suspects.

Well, you see, when we were going through the place, we’d bring a few filthy magazines and we’d just happen to find them while his wife was watching.

Any honest Garda will admit that this is the culture of the force.

Maurice McCabe broke the ultimate taboo of any police force anywhere. He violated the omerta that motivates all policemen, by being stupid and naive. Maurice McCabe just assumed that honesty, integrity and decency are essential elements of policing, and how wrong he was.

By exposing petty corruption concerning speeding tickets, he has been falsely smeared as a sex offender, described as disgusting by a Garda Commissioner and placed on a sex offenders register by another state agency.

Maurice McCabe’s problems started when he made a legitimate complaint that led to a colleague being disciplined.

Not long after that event, his colleague used his own young daughter as a pawn in a vindictive game to accuse McCabe of inappropriate behaviour. Even the gardai who submitted the report to the DPP confirmed that the complaint had little substance, while the DPP observed that the behaviour complained of was probably not even an offence in the first place. Otherwise, we’d all be in front of a court for chasing children in a birthday hide-and-seek game.

The complaint was dismissed out of hand and so it rested until an unnamed counsellor, we’re invited to believe, submitted a report to Tusla, the child protection agency, alleging that Maurice McCabe had raped a child.

Let it be said now that this complaint was entirely false.

The counsellor responsible for this false allegation later acknowledged that it was a mistake. An administrative error.

Somehow, a vicious allegation of the worst kind had been accidentally copied and pasted from another file into the file — of all people — of the same  man who stood in severe conflict with our national police force.

What are the chances?

What are the chances that a counsellor would have two documents open at the same time on a computer? One file would be that of a client sexually abused as a child, and the other would be an old file, long-closed and discredited. And yet, somehow, details of the most vile abuse are somehow copied and pasted into the document relating to a blameless man. Furthermore, the professional who made this clerical error failed to read over the final document and check its accuracy before transmitting it to the Gardai. What are the chances of that?

And if Brendan Howlin is to be believed in his statement to the Dáil, these horrible calumnies were being repeated by the incumbent Garda Commissioner even after their author had admitted they were false. If Brendan Howlin is to be believed, the current Commissioner was actively urging certain journalists to publish these lies.

There are many questions to be answered about this, among them the following.

First: how did Maurice McCabe’s closed file just happen to be on the counsellor’s computer when this accidental copy-and-paste took place?

Second: why did the counsellor send this information directly to Tusla instead of following established reporting procedures?

Third: why did Tusla not investigate these extremely serious allegations?

Fourth: why was there no Garda investigation of this alleged crime?

Fifth: why was Maurice McCabe not informed of this life-destroying allegation?

Sixth: on what authority did Tusla open files on the two children of Maurice McCabe who were adults at the time of the false allegation?

It’s about time the Gardai were examined in depth. It’s about time we asked ourselves if we have a police force fit for purpose. After all, how many police forces refer to their employees as Members?

Hard questions need to be asked about the relationship between an Garda Síochána and Tusla. Did somebody talk to somebody about Maurice McCabe?

These are not questions that can be answered by an insider. These questions need to be asked by somebody who has no connection to Irish affairs.

We are talking here about something fundamental to our society because this is all extremely sinister. What happens to Maurice McCabe today can happen to you and me tomorrow.  This is an attack on our democracy. Even seeking a benign interpretation of events, this looks sinister. There is no innocent interpretation of what has been done here.

If the government fails to address this attack on our democracy head-on, that government must collapse.



Previously on Bock

Guerin inquiry report on Garda handling of McCabe allegations

All Garda-related posts HERE


Fintan O’Toole on the McCabe scandal



Hillsborough inquiry exposes Masonic undercurrent in British emergency services

What do the Hillsborough disaster, the Toxteth riots and the Battle of Orgreave have in common?

Wait!  Before answering that, let’s just remind ourselves what they are.

The Hillsborough disaster was an event in 1989 when ninety-six people from Liverpool were unlawfully killed by the South Yorkshire police. That same police force subsequently smeared the victims and systematically lied about their actions in order to present an entirely untrue version of what really occurred.

The Toxteth riots broke out in Liverpool in 1981 at a time when heavy-handed policing had utterly alienated the black community of that city. During the riots, Merseyside police used CS gas for the first time outside Northern Ireland to quell civil revolt.

Battle of OrgreaveThe Battle of Orgreave happened in 1984 when police attacked protesting miners in South Yorkshire. The subsequent prosecutions all collapsed and the police were forced to pay a half million pounds in compensation for assaulting their victims.

What do these three incidents have in common?

The answer is this: one man, Peter Wright who was Chief Constable of South Yorkshire during the Hillsborough mass killing and the Orgreave attacks, and Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside police during the Toxteth riots.

Of course, nobody will suggest that Peter Wright was single-handedly to blame for all these disasters, but he was certainly responsible, as the man in charge of the force, for the unlawful killing of the Hillsborough victims, even though David Duckenfield was of course responsible for what happened at the Sheffield Wednesday ground on the day of the disaster. Wright was also answerable for his officers attacking the Orgreave miners, though his role in Liverpool is less clear, but the point is more nuanced than simply apportioning blame.

Peter Wright was a member of the brotherhood who control police, fire and ambulance services in Britain. He would never have reached that level of adeptness had he not been welcomed into the inner circles and therefore he represents all who stood in his place during those dark times.

Britain has a multiplicity of forces — police, fire and ambulance — all with a similar quasi-military structure. Members of those forces are big on saluting, marching and standing to attention. They have a strong uniform fetish and they all draw their traditions from one branch or another of the armed forces. The fire services, for instance, pride themselves on their naval origins. Furthermore, they are all independent fiefdoms, much like medieval lordships, and are all headed by a feudal lord called a Chief Constable, a Chief Fire Officer or a Chief Ambulance Officer.

It’s an astonishingly rigid tribal system, deeply resistant to dissent and with a rigid disciplinary structure, much like orders of knights, even though the United Kingdom presents itself as a modern democracy.

Just as advancement in the old RUC or the Northern Ireland Fire Service was impossible without being a member of the Orange Order, it has been an open secret in Britain for generations that nobody can advance beyond a given level of seniority in the police, the fire service or the ambulance service without being a member of the Freemasons. This is taken as a certainty by everyone within these organisations, and furthermore, has been welcomed by aspiring members, because joining any of the UK’s emergency services has been seen as a passport to prosperity and in many cases an escape from the drab impoverishment of working-class life in Britain.

Therefore, who could blame the average working-class cop in Toxteth, in Hillsborough or in Orgreave for wielding a baton against the man he grew up next door to? That’s how feudal societies work.

Who could blame the recently-deposed Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, David Crompton, for feeling aggrieved when all he did was defend to the hilt his band of brothers in the face of the facts? What tribal chieftain would do any less? What warlord would not go before some upstart Star Chamber and face down its impertinent accusations?

David Crompton must be sitting in his magnificent home today wondering what on earth he did wrong.

To the average observer standing back and looking at British society, the feudal element is obvious, though of course we Irish aren’t qualified to point fingers, given the feudal elements exposed in our own society by the economic crash and the history leading up to it.

But nevertheless, we can reflect on the dangers of having a police force and emergency services whose leaders are in thrall to a secret organisation and perhaps apply the lessons to our own society.


David Duckenfield and the Freemasons

Masons colluded, Hillsborough court told

Freemasons in the police leading the attack on David Cameron’s riot response





Dublin gang wars — the result of a deeply unequal society


Is it fair to blame the Gardai for failing to prevent the two recent gang murders in Dublin?

There was a time when I would have said Yes, but that was then and this is now. The fact is that the Gardai are very much a product of Irish society and let’s be honest with ourselves about this: we Irish tend to take a rather ad-hoc, bumbling, see-how-it-goes approach to things. If you don’t believe me, just look at our health service.

Compared to many police forces, the Guards continue to retain the confidence of the public at large, a public that in many ways tends to enjoy their occasional displays of amateurism and provincialism, such as the recent ludicrous prosecution of a Kerry publican for doing very little. It’s true, they can be infuriating and they can be ignorant. Some of them are overbearing, some are looking out for every extra penny they can scrape and some are just downright thugs. But most are ordinary-enough individuals once you get past the monastic sense of being a closed cabal that was instilled in them during their time at Templemore. The Guards will be all right once we eradicate the word Member from their vocabulary.

It could be worse. Some years back, before a trip to Latvia, I was warned not to approach any policeman on any account, because he would use it as an excuse to arrest me and shake me down for money. When the Czech Republic joined the European Union, Irish people assigned to Prague were astonished by the blatant venality of the local cops. You don’t get in the way of a French riot policeman, because if you do, he will break your skull open just for being there in front of him. You don’t, under any circumstances, make an unusual gesture to an American cop, in case he shoots you dead.

Our cops, for the most part, are not like that, and even when they are, it’s in a bumbling, ham-fisted, ticket-fixing kind of way.

On the other hand, they’re very good indeed at sniffing out information thanks to their grounding in local communities, a skill that served them well in the early days of the State, and later when the Troubles were at their height. Nothing moved without the guards knowing about it, which is why they were far more effective against the Provos than their colleagues in the RUC who had no roots in the communities they were policing.

But the guards are essentially a middle-class organisation in a very Irish sort of way. I recently had to visit a police station to get my passport renewal signed and the young Guard I spoke to barely glanced at me or at the photos I presented to him, because it was obvious to anyone that we were of the same tribe. I wasn’t what the Guards call a gouger. I didn’t speak like one, I didn’t dress like one and I didn’t have the body language of one. We shared a few words about Paul O Connell’s retirement from rugby. He asked if I needed the passport for a match and I said Maybe, if I can find the money.

We laughed in the polite way that strangers do and he said Have a nice day.

You too, I told him.

I was clearly a person who only encounters a policeman if I’ve been driving too fast, if I’ve been robbed or if I need a passport form stamped. Somebody just like his own family and friends.

I was of his tribe.

A friend of mine used to work for a company that maintained the IT equipment in Garda stations. He was the quintessential Tech Guy, and he made it a point of honour when visiting a station never to explain who he was or why he was there. Instead, he simply waved his toolbox at the policeman or woman at the desk, pointed to the security door and he was always buzzed through without a challenge.


Because he was clearly of their tribe.

Because that’s Ireland and that’s what makes us so flexible.

Unfortunately, however, it’s also our weakness now that we’re dealing with a class of criminal that has nothing at all in common with the people from whom our police force springs. These gangs are not the middle-class rural Provisionals of the 70s. They didn’t grow up next to the family of the cop who’s watching them. Many came from the bleak urban wastelands ordained by the blinkered housing policies first enunciated in the 1930s. They came from estates and blocks of flats that no policeman ever lived in. They sprang from a nihilistic ethos, a sterile vision, a place devoid of soul. Something far worse than a ghetto.

Of course, this is not to damn everyone who came from the areas where the criminals grew up. Most people are decent enough and just want to get on with their lives. In the case of Christy Kinahan, one of the major protagonists in the latest feud, his family were all high achievers, well-respected, well-read people, some of whom went on to achieve prominence in public life. Including, paradoxically, Christy Kinahan himself.

But even though this gang leader might well be a cultured, if ruthless, man he still comes from St Teresa’s Gardens, a place where no policeman grew up. Ever.

And that’s where Garda intelligence is failing: a junkie will tell you anything you want to hear as long as you pay him. The Gardai need good people on the ground and that means living among the people.

I’m not saying there’s a simple answer to this problem, but unless we make a start, there will be no progress and incidents like the Regency Hotel attack will continue to occur. It’s bigger than a policing issue. It’s a societal issue and sadly there seems to be little understanding among politicians that we live in a fractured society where many people feel no loyalty at all to our little republic.

How do we fix it? I genuinely don’t know, but I do know this: we need to start changing the deeply unequal society that Ireland is in 2016, a full century after the Rising. We as a society need to confront those criminals who might as well be foreign terrorists attacking us, but then we need to tackle the reasons for their existence.


Gardai smash notorious Early Bird Gang in Tralee pub raid

Crime, as we all know, has run rampant in Ireland in recent years.

No longer the sleepy backwater it used to be, this country is now a home for killers, robbers and worse. Big-Tom listeners, goose-booers, heron stranglers.  Boy-band managers. Bamboozlers.

The Real IRA. The Surreal IRA. The Unreal IRA. The Paranormal IRA, The Homeopathic IRA, the Ayurvedic IRA.


We have marauding gangs using the motorway system to roam the countryside in high-powered cars, terrorising rural dwellers. And violent crime in Dublin has made O’Connell Street virtually a no-go area at night. We have weekly shootings, we have sexual assaults and we have a massive hard drug problem, not to mention the gigantic white-collar crime that brought the country to the brink of extinction.

But none of these come close to the depravity of the most feared and dangerous criminals this island has ever faced and no, I’m not talking about those desperadoes Yeats warned of, the freckled men who go to a grey place on a hill in grey Connemara clothes at dawn to cast their flies. Such men might be evil but they are nothing compared to an even more dangerous class of criminal.

I speak of course, of those men who enjoy a quiet pint and a bit of a chat outside official licensing hours. If we can only get on top of this particularly nasty crime, everything else will fall into place, which is why the Gardai, since their foundation, have devoted all their resources to tackling this form of criminality.

Who could forget the heroic Garda who visited the Aran Islands posing as a backpacker and who went to his tent when the pub was supposed to close, got into his uniform and returned to bust everyone on the premises? A true hero for old Ireland, keeping the crime-ridden mean streets of Aran safe for godfearing folk like you and me.

I remember how the Gardai looked after my own moral well-being one night some years back when they raided a local pub just past midnight on a Tuesday and waited until the six customers including two frail old men had left. Imagine the mayhem on the streets if they hadn’t ejected us from Crime Central.

There has always been a doctrine within the Gardai, going all the way back to the puritanical men who set up the force, that in order to control the streets it’s necessary to control the pubs. The logic has never been tested but it’s necessary to repeat the orthodoxy if you want to get promotion in the force and we can only presume that’s what the gardai in Tralee had in mind when they raided Turner’s Bar.

turners bar tralee

Barely escaping with their lives, after a savage struggle they managed to detain one vicious criminal having a pint and three men waiting for a bus. It was a close-run thing but the highly-trained SWAT team somehow got the situation under control without needing to call in helicopters, dog-handlers or snipers. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the ruthless criminals threatened the gardai with a pack of cards and a newspaper open to the racing page.

The problem, you see was that one man was having a quiet pint and a bit of a chat at an unauthorised hour, while the others were physically standing in the premises,  and we all know what that could lead to if it got out of hand. It was a Sunday, you see, when the pubs can’t open until 12:30pm, but the criminal mastermind behind the vicious Early Bird Gang was drinking a pint at only 10.10 am.

I know. You’re probably as shocked as I am. In fact, I imagine the whole of Ireland is shocked. The Gardai in particular, whose members would never dream of having an illicit drink out of hours were probably the most shocked of all, with reports coming from Tralee of emergency trauma counselling being offered to the police who carried out the raid. Needless to say, no judge in history has ever demanded a pint after closing time, so I won’t even mention how horrified the judiciary were to hear of this crime which can only be called an atrocity.

It’s appalling. A man drinking a pint at just after 10am on a Sunday morning. It would even be shocking from Monday to Saturday when he’d be a full twenty minutes early, but to be consuming a quiet pint on the Sabbath is probably on a par with anything ISIS might do.

Can’t be too careful. Next thing you know, they might start playing chess or discussing current events.

Isn’t it lucky we have such a diligent police force with its eye fixed firmly on the real issues? A less professional outfit might waste its scarce resources on trivial matters that have nothing to do with crime.




Fighting crime – Irish style

Good Friday pub licence granted in Limerick




Crime Favourites Policing

Garda Reform Most Extensive in History of Force

An Garda Síochána is to be reformed, apparently.

In the most radical restructuring since the formation of the force, Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has imposed strict limits on doughnut use and announced intensive courses on the correct pronunciation of “vehicle”.

Hawks are to be curtailed.  No member of the force will henceforth be able to buy more than twenty items at cost price from retailers in any given year.

Young drunken off-duty gardai who flash identification at fellow night-clubbers  before beating them up will from now on be called in front of the Super, who will be required to say For fucksake lads three times. before shaking his head ruefully.

Any Garda checking out a car for a friend will be required to provide a reason before looking up the ownership details and passing them on.

Gardai will not, in future, be permitted to copy personal information about citizens from the PULSE system and place it on their personal laptops, if their children are likely to use the laptop for Facebook.  Gardai without children will be exempt from this requirement.

However, Templemore will continue as a monastic settlement, where recruits are taught that society consists of two groups: An Garda Siochána and potential criminals.

An Garda Síochána, unlike the PSNI, will continue to be a security agency as well as a police force.

There will be no concerted attempt to confront the entrenched inertia that keeps the force rooted in the attitudes of the 1920s, diverting allocating  resources to such vital tasks as the enforcement of pub licensing hours.

An Garda Síochána is dragged kicking and screaming into the 1950s.





Garda Acquitted of Theft and Assault in Taxi Row

If there was a video of what Garda Pádraig Dennehy did, we’d all be cheering and clapping.  Somebody might even put it on Facebook.

He thought the cop would take his side but you won’t believe what happened next.

What did happen?

Rimas Bastys, from Lithuania, a place where the police are famously approachable and honest (not), got into the cab of Mr Nadeem Mirza.  The place was O’Connell Street in Dublin and his destination was Blanchardstown.  For reasons best known to himself, Bastys got it into his head that the driver was going in circles to inflate the fare, so he jumped out of the cab at Parnell Square and approached Gardai, who happened to be diverting traffic from the scene of a collision.

He was drunk. He accused the taxi driver of cheating and Garda Pádraig Dennehy took time out of his assigned task to sort out the problem, which he did very effectively by taking Bastys’s wallet, removing a ten-euro note, handing it to the driver and returning the change to Rimas Bastys along with a receipt.

The evidence is that he then told Bastys to fuck off, which I sincerely hope is true.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that he slapped Bastys in the face, kicked him up the arse or pushed him into a giant custard pie but again, although I wish it were so, that’s not what happened.

Instead, the Garda Ombudsman Commission investigated a complaint from Mr Bastys, and then the DPP prosecuted the policeman for the theft of €6.25.


I’m glad to say that the matter was finally settled today when the District Court kicked the case out.

This is a story of a good practical cop doing his job with the minimum of fuss.  He stole no money.  He just paid the driver, Mr Mirza, and he gave Bastys his change, along with the receipt that proved the taxi had not travelled anywhere near as far as the drunken complainant imagined.

Do we need this kind of thing when there are genuine issues about the Gardai we need to be addressing?  When we have so many examples of genuine abuse of power, do we need our cops to be worried about petty unfounded accusations?

Do we need police who are reluctant to intervene informally in any minor dispute for fear they might find themselves in front of a criminal court?

To my way of thinking, Pádraig Dennehy is the kind of cop we need on the streets and the last thing we want is to kill his initiative with this sort of trivial prosecution, but unfortunately he’ll probably think twice before he gets involved with the next drunken loudmouth.




Garda Inspectorate Report Reveals Deep Problems in the Force

When the Morris Tribunal came out, they said it was just a Donegal problem.

When the Guerin report came out, they said it was just a Monaghan problem.

When the Smithwick Tribunal reported, they said it was just a Dundalk problem.

I wonder what they’ll say now that the Garda Inspectorate has issued a report confirming what everyone already knew: an Garda Síochána is a deeply dysfunctional, undertrained, secretive, unprofessional police force?

This latest report makes depressing reading, cataloguing failures in every aspect of policing within this State.  It paints a picture of a force  with little understanding of how a modern organisation should investigate crime or how it should relate to the victims.  A force with almost no grasp of technology.  A force with little or no advanced professional training, little ability to develop strategies or to adapt to changing circumstances and stuck in a siege mindset more appropriate to the 1950s.

A force with a remote, authoritarian leadership more concerned with political considerations than with policing a modern European country.  A force managed by people who are all political appointees.

It”s no accident that not a single candidate from an Garda Síochána senior management made it to the short-list for Chief Constable of the PSNI.  They weren’t good enough.   It’s that simple.

One thing is clear from this report.  Templemore, the Garda training college deliberately located far from any city, has to be closed down.  The attitudes of them-and-us drummed into new recruits in that policing monastery  do not serve us well in the 21st century.

The entire force needs a root-and-branch reconstruction but if that doesn’t happen after this it will never happen and we might as well get used to having a police force that’s a laughing-stock internationally.  We deserve – and pay for – something better.

Feel free to read the report here in all its dispiriting glory.



Previously on BTR

Alan Shatter Resigns

Martin Callinan Decommissions Himself

Garda Meltdown Is Only A Symptom of a Deeper Irish Problem

It’s Time to Reform an Garda Síochána

Gardai and Catholic Church. Both Losing Hearts and Minds

The Smithwick Tribunal Report — Would It Have Been Cheaper to Read Tarot Cards?

The Morris Tribunal and the Wall of Silence

The Framing of Frank Shortt

McBrearty Settles Action Against Irish State for €3 Million

Banking Favourites gardai Law

Seanie Fitz Applies For Free Legal Aid

Seán Fitzpatrick, former CEO and Chairman of Anglo-Irish Bank has applied to have his defence costs paid by the State  after his recent acquittal in the Circuit Criminal Court, and guess what?  He’s right.

I hope Seánie Fitz gets his costs, because in doing so, he will have exposed the iniquity of a criminal justice system that penalises innocent people.  As anyone who reads this site regularly knows, I’m no flag-bearer for the people who ran the worst bank in history, but in this case, I think Fitzpatrick has a valid point.

If you’re arrested and charged with an offence, no matter how frivolous or malicious that charge might be (assuming, of course that an Garda Síochána would ever do anything so improper), you’ll be stuck with your legal costs even if you’re acquitted.  Unless, that is, you happen to be a useless lowlife with 87 previous convictions who never worked a day in your life.  In those circumstances, the State will be happy to provide you with a defence team free of charge, even if you’re subsequently convicted for the 88th time.

But if you’re an ordinary Joe who happens to fall foul of the system, no matter how innocent you are, you might find yourself faced with ruinous legal costs.  In Ireland, it’s not necessary to be guilty to be punished.  All you have to do is be charged and you will have a gigantic de facto fine imposed on you for the privilege of demonstrating your innocence.  You will have to  pay because you’re one of the people who work to earn a little money.

This is an everyday reality faced by people who are acquitted in court.  Despite being innocent, they have to find, somehow, the tens of thousands of euro it took to convince a court that the State had failed to prove its case.

That’s why I think Seanie Fitz should get his costs.  Not because I have any sympathy for him, but because he was acquitted and is therefore innocent.

And because I’d like to have my costs covered too, if the State should decide to charge me with a crime I didn’t commit.

Who’d have thought that Sean Fitzpatrick, of all people, would become the champion of the Squeezed Middle?



Favourites gardai

Guerin Report on Garda Handling Of Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s Allegations

If you thought Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s whistle-blowing was all about getting penalty points looked after, think again. This is about murders, beatings, sex assaults and other investigations, all botched or worse by the Gardai. It’s about a man of principle, victimised by the organisation he works for simply because he told the truth.

The Guerin report systematically forges its way through a series of complaints raised by McCabe, and finds every one of them credible enough to warrant a formal inquiry. These are the same complaints that former Commissioner Martin Callinan found, as he put it, frankly disgusting.

Chapter by chapter, Guerin sketches out a series of pictures ranging from horror to farce.

  • A young woman dead because her killer was freed on bail when Gardai failed to provide a court with vital  information.
  • An Assistant Commissioner wrestling with McCabe in a hotel lounge for possession of a box of documents.
  • A Garda approaching the victim of an assault and negotiating payment of compensation instead of prosecuting the culprits.
  • Gardai unable to obtain video of an attack in a pub even though it had been shown on CCTV to a large audience.
  • Gardai losing a priest’s computer after seizing it for technical examination on suspicion of child pornography. Following complaints by McCabe against a senior officer, he himself was later subjected to disciplinary procedures, even though he had nothing to do with the case.
  • Professionals in a Monaghan town reluctant to cooperate with any investigation for fear of retaliation.
  • Gardai advising victims of crime to withdraw complaints.
  • Gardaí falsifying entries in the operational database to cover up malpractice.

Assault, false imprisonment, death threats, intimidation. It goes on and on.

Finally, we have the unedifying spectacle of the Garda Commissioner being invited by the Minister to investigate complaints against himself and giving himself a clean bill of health. It was Alan Shatter’s casual acceptance of Callinan’s hubris-filled reply, combined with his own failure to understand his legal obligations that finally made it impossible for him to stay in the job.

Few people emerge well from this review, apart from Maurice McCabe himself. Guerin makes it clear that McCabe is a policeman of the highest integrity who genuinely believes in his role on behalf of the community.

An Garda Síochána comes across as an antiquated, hidebound relic, with attitudes rooted in 1920s Ireland, and rigid managerial structures that mask an almost complete absence of real discipline. In Guerin’s words, discipline is not merely the absence of insubordination and in this 336-page document, he shows us a force without direction, without vision but also without fear of consequences. We see unprofessional local Gardai misusing their positions to intimidate anyone who might criticise them. We see a hierarchy utterly blind to any suggestion of wrongdoing, in the habit of setting up sham investigations and completely resistant to what it sees as interference.

What we see in this report is a deeply dysfunctional police force, barely tolerant of the government and the public it serves. We see an organisation with a rigidly top-down structure, impervious to change, suspicious of everyone and aggressively resistant to criticism. We see bumbling incompetence. We see a club of people, many of whom regard membership as a way to do favours for their friends and to derive personal gain for themselves.

Despite the outstanding example of Maurice McCabe, what we do not see is widespread professionalism, but as we speak, it has just been announced that Maurice McCabe’s full access to the Garda IT system has been restored, thus confirming that all the attempts to dismiss him as a troublemaker were only so much guff and hot air.

The old nonsense won’t wash any more. It’s not a problem with Monaghan or Cavan or Donegal. It’s a problem with the nature and the structure of the organisation, and it needs a proportionate response. It’s about time we had a complete reform of our national police service and it’s about time all the old dinosaurs were sent out to graze the primeval forests they came from.

It won’t be done without a struggle though. I’d hate to be a source close to Martin Callinan’s dog right now.



Alan Shatter Resigns

Martin Callinan Decommissions Himself

Garda Meltdown Is Only A Symptom of a Deeper Irish Problem

It’s Time to Reform an Garda Síochána

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Rehab Chief Angela Kerins to be New Garda Commissioner

In a shock development today, Rehab CEO Angela Kerins resigned from her €240k post, citing family reasons.

My family would love to see me wearing a peaked cap with gold braid, and so would I, quipped the hardworking ex-midwife-turned-global-CEO, so I’m going for the Garda Commissioner’s job.  Now that Callinan is gone, she added, unleashing the famous machine-gun laugh that earned her the affectionate nickname AK47 among Rehab employees.

Wasting no time, Kerins sets out her vision of a new-look Garda Síochána.

When I take over, there’ll be no more nonsense.  In my new no-nonsense Gardai, I’ll expect every member of the force to be proficient in Powerpoint, going forward, said Ms Kerins.  I’ll set up special firearms training so that everyone learns how to shoot puppies, going forward and each weekend, we’ll have special team-building sessions plucking low-hanging fruit.  Naturally, I’ll be taking a helicopter view.

Commissioner Kerins

How did Ms Kerins view the Garda as an organisation, going forward?

I’m glad you asked me that question.   I’d hope to expand the operation into mainland Europe and perhaps Russia, obviously using local volunteers and with a strong emphasis on fundraising.  I can see An Garda Síochána being a strong global brand within a decade, though of course, we’d have to change the name to something more snappy.

Such as?

I was thinking along the lines of RehabPol.  Also, we’ll have to change the core business model.  There’s too much of that old crimefighting taking up people’s time, so we’ll outsource that side of things to the professionals.    I’ll probably have to sit on all the boards of directors to make sure it’s transparent.

How does Ms Kerins see the core activities of An Garda Síochána, going forward?

The message we want to put out there is that it’s all good.  We do good stuff.  Lots of good stuff, so please give generously.

And the Gardai themselves?

Well, obviously we’ll have to reduce overheads.  While I see no reason why a commissioner should be paid less than Angela Merkel, rank-and-file wages will go down and performance-based bonuses will go up.


Well, for a start, I can see no good reason why Gardai shouldn’t sell scratch-cards at checkpoints.  Can you?

Going forward?

Going forward.