Politics Society

Roma Child Taken By Gardai and HSE

What are we to make of the case where HSE staff backed up by twenty Gardai forcibly took a Roma child from her parents?

It seems the basis of their actions was a complaint by a TV3 journalist who read something on Facebook, and didn’t bother to verify his facts.  So much for journalism these days.

What was the problem?  Well, apparently, the parents’ offence was to have a blonde, blue-eyed daughter, in contravention of the journalist’s prejudices about people’s appearance.  As a result, the Gardai and the HSE officials acted, on what seems now like nothing more than hearsay, traumatising a family and a seven-year-old child.

The Gardai have the authority to seize a child if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the child might be in imminent danger, but in this case the only danger was from the HSE, who have without doubt damaged this little girl psychologically.

DNA tests have shown that the girl was living with her natural parents and she has been returned to the family but not before being injured by half-witted social workers.

I voted against that constitutional amendment on children’s rights, not because I hate children but because I’m afraid of PC Nazis and here we have a solid example of the consequences.  Did you vote against it too?  If not, don’t complain when some fool decides they think you’re a bad parent after reading a Facebook comment and tries to take your kids, just like this bunch of idiots have done.

That’s the world we’ve created for ourselves thanks to political correctness.

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Clerical Sexual Abuse Revelations Implicate Gardai

The Murphy Report was published in 2009, following an investigation into child sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin.  At the time of its publication, certain material was held back for legal reasons.  The redacted Chapter 19 was published in December 2010, and now Chapter 20 has been released and it paints a horrifying picture.  The archbishops of Dublin were not only aware that their priests were raping children but, despite the impression they sought to create in subsequent years, were also fully aware that the activities of those priests were criminal in nature.

bishops murphy report

They failed to report the crimes to our national police force, but perhaps there was no point, since the report accuses that police force of connivance, of stifling complaints and failing to investigate others.  It describes the decision by the Gardai to permit an abuser to leave the country as shocking.  Crucially, it points out that, but for  information uncovered in diocesan files, it would not have been aware of the Garda role in covering up the crimes of child sex abuse.  In other words, our national police force failed to cooperate with the investigation of a monumental crime.  This failure is not something that happened in the distant past.  Within the last decade, senior gardai were conniving to frustrate an official investigation into the activities of sex-abusing clerics and it’s highly likely that many of these people are still in office.

Coming in a week when we learn that a member of our parliament wrote to a bishop before voting on a government bill, this is highly disturbing.   To what extent does this official deference still survive?

Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report concerns Patrick McCabe, a priest of the Dublin archdiocese and serial sex abuser.  It involves two archbishops and a cardinal, all of whom knew what this man was capable of, and all of whom were more concerned to protect their institution than the children the abuser preyed upon.  They all concealed his activities and even facilitated him by assigning him to posts in the community without alerting anyone to his true nature.

This case also involves collusion by our national police force to protect a known child abuser.  It involves officers who were until recently at an extremely high level in the organisation and perhaps even some who might still be in place.  By their lax, dilatory and downright negligent approach, they permitted the abuse to continue far longer than it might otherwise have done.

Beginning.  Archbishop Dermot Ryan seemed to be a major break from the oppressive reign of his predecessor, the tyrannical John Charles McQuaid.  Ryan, a former professor of Oriental Languages in UCD had himself been silenced by McQuaid for espousing liberation theology, but it seems his concept of liberation was confined to the peasants of Central America and to the rapists he protected.  As the report remarks of Ryan,  it seems that the welfare of children simply did not play any part in his decisions.


Unless of course those children happened to be unborn, in which case his concern for their welfare was boundless.  Ryan was an outspoken proponent of the disastrously ill-conceived  8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983, which led us through thirty years of wrangling until this week when some sort of legislation was finally passed to acknowledge the X Case.

As for born children, well, the good professor archbishop seems to have cared not a jot.  Priests buggering little boys did not constitute a problem for Archbishop Ryan.

In January 1977, a 14-year-old boy, James  Moran,  complained to the Archdiocese about a sexual assault by a priest, Patrick McCabe who called to a boarding school and introduced himself as a friend of the boy’s mother, with whom he had a vague, passing acquaintance.  He then assaulted the boy in his car for over an hour, and when the boy complained to the headmaster, he was again sexually assaulted.  The headmaster was later convicted of multiple instances of sexual abuse.

Coincidentally, McCabe’s brother, Phelim, was also a priest and had been a classmate of Dermot Ryan’s in Clonliffe College.  Two men have subsequently lodged formal complaints about sexual assault prior to this attack.

McCabe had a well-organised modus operandi.  He always secured his own accommodation, he always set up some kind of oratory where could hold prayer meetings and he always tried to get control of the altar boys.

The school reported the complaint to the church authorities, who sent a priest, Canon Ardle McMahon, to investigate.  It seems he believed the boy, but found the incident regrettable rather than criminal.  Nothing in his report suggests that the police should be involved or alerted.

When interviewed,  McCabe cast himself as the innocent, taken aback by the aggressive sexual advances of the child.  He was so shocked, he claimed, that he sought the help of a psychiatrist

Canon McMahon describes the attack as unbalanced emotionalism and later describes the victim’s claims as the evidence of one witness against the only other witness.

That was the end of it.  Dermot Ryan never followed up on McCabe’s activities and the psychiatrist was never identified.

Further complaints.  In 1978, another complaint against McCabe appeared, and this time the church representative was auxiliary bishop James Kavanagh.

There was no investigation.  Kavanagh didn’t interview McCabe and submitted no report apart from the boy’s account with a one-line note to his boss, Ryan: I presume we can have a word about this sometime.

Nothing more was done about the complaint.  Later, former child-victims who attended parties at the home of  of another notorious clerical abuser, Bill Carney,  reported that Kavanagh attended the same parties.

Meanwhile, in 1977, a woman had called Dr Maurice Reidy, a former staff member at Clonliffe, and told him that a priest had assaulted her six-year-old son.

This is a verbatim quote from the report.

Dr Reidy’s explanation for his failure to do anything about the complaint at the time he received it was that he had reservations about the woman’s capability as a witness.  She was, in his estimation, nervous, highly-strung and very innocent of sexual matters for a married woman.

History doesn’t record how Reidy, a celibate priest, would possess a deep and thorough knowledge of sexual matters, but comically, for those who enjoy black humour, Maurice Reidy specialised in teaching moral theology.

Reidy advised the woman not to let the priest into the house again, apparently unaware of the immorality, not to mention the illegality, of raping the child the first time, and when he received no further complaints, he assumed the matter was at an end.

He was wrong.  The reason he heard no more about it was because nobody in their right mind would go back to a man like him.  The nervous, highly-strung, silly woman continued to tell people about McCabe’s continuing abuse but it wasn’t until a female cleaner found the priest lying on top of the child that the diocese decided to send in their ace investigator, Canon McMahon who chose not to interview the victim, the child’s mother or the woman who had seen the abuse.  He did, however, interview Maurice Reidy and came to the conclusion that McCabe was indeed a child abuser, though he didn’t quite put it in those terms.

The clerics, to  a man, seem to have concluded that the problem was McCabe’s, and not his victim’s.  There is no hint of support for the children or their families.

McMahon’s report to Dermot Ryan suggests that McCabe be asked to consult a psychiatrist.  This is happening in 1978, not 1878, and yet there is no mention of police action.  In 1979, after seeing the psychiatrist with inconclusive results, McCabe was appointed as a curate in Artane.  Archbishop Ryan’s memo in 1981 is revealing: he reminded McCabe of  the seriousness of his actions and the risk that he ran of imprisonment, quite apart from the scandal that had arisen and the even more public scandal that could arise in the future.

There’s nothing ambiguous about this.  It means that the archbishop of Dublin, in 1981, and his staff, were well aware that Patrick McCabe was committing crimes.  Yet they did nothing to prevent him from committing further crimes, nor did they alert the civil authorities.  It also means that the bishop’s principal concern was to avoid embarrassment for his organisation.

From July 1979 to March 1981, while McCabe was in Artane, he abused at least eight boys.  Victims and their families complained to the archdiocese during that time but the archbishop did nothing until finally, in 1981, a boy’s parents complained to the Gardai.  Oddly, no records on this have been found, either in Garda files or in the diocesan correspondence, but it did lead to one definitive result.  Bishop Kavanagh called in person to the parents and persuaded them, by whatever means, not to proceed.  As a result, the complaint was killed.  The police did nothing further.

Treatment. The bishop was rattled and finally sent McCabe to receive treatment in a Catholic centre in Britain.  True  to form, the abuser hoodwinked them and was sent home with a reasonably positive recommendation as a result of which Ryan reappointed the abuser as a curate in the parish of Clogher Road.  No supervision was put in place and it wasn’t long before McCabe began to abuse again.  Finally, Ryan revoked his authority to minister as a priest.

You might imagine that the police were notified on the spot, but that’s not what happened.  Instead, the decided to send him to New Mexico for further treatment, which the abuser vigorously opposed until eventually he was forced to go by his brother, Dermot Ryan’s close friend, who accompanied him on the plane.

They saw through him in New Mexico, and insisted that he undergo re-evaluation and further workshops, but he was allowed to go home for Christmas 1982 and immediately abused again.  Ryan consulted Monsignor Gerard Sheehy, the man who consistently advised the bishops never to inform the Gardai of clerical sexual abuse and true to form, Sheehy wrote as follows:

Whatever the immediate action … it must not be suspension.  Suspension would bring you straight into the realm of penal law with all its implications of crime and culpability.

There you go.  They knew precisely what they were dealing with.

There’s a year’s gap, but by January 1983, McCabe was back in New Mexico and now acknowledged by all to be a paedophile.  He agreed to undergo drug treatment to reduce his libido, otherwise known as chemical castration.  Ironically, the drug, Depo-Provera, was a female contraceptive actively opposed by the Church authorities, none more vigorously than Dermot Ryan.  It wasn’t until two years later that an Irish government would finally lift the absurd ban on the sale of condoms without prescription.

By mid-1983, McCabe was back in Dublin, staying with his brother Phelim but Archbishop Ryan was far from happy.  If McCabe was going to bugger little boys, it wouldn’t be on his patch, so he began to put out feelers, so to speak.  He phoned Bishop Hurley of Santa Rosa, California, and hastily arranged McCabe’s return to the States.  Unfortunately, McCabe immediately began abusing children in California.

Ryan died in 1985, and McCabe became a problem for his successor, Kevin Mcnamara, another outspoken opponent of abortion, contraception and divorce.  McNamara died after three years in office, but he still had to deal with McCabe, despite his illness.  He indicated that McCabe would not be welcome back in Dublin, but might perhaps get another appointment in the US.

That didn’t happen.  Nobody wanted the abuser in the States, so he came home in 1986.  There was no supervision, and he even lived in a house owned by a Chief Superintendent of the Gardai, Joe McGovern.

Garda collusion.  The abuse went on.  McCabe picked up work here and there standing in for priests who had to be away from their parishes and he continued to attack children including, in August 1986, a nine-year-old boy whose parents brought the child to the sexual assault unit at the Rotunda hospital in Dublin.  They then went to  the Gardai.  In the words of the report the initial Garda reaction was exemplary, but the conduct of the investigation soon deteriorated.  A retired Garda sergeant accompanied McCabe to the station and the investigating Gardai took no notes of the interview.  Later, McCabe visited Chief Supt McGovern and made certain admissions.  McGovern didn’t pass these admissions to the investigators, but did contact a priest called Curley about them.  McGovern — a very senior policeman — told the Commission that he considered McCabe’s behaviour to be a matter for the church rather than the civil authorities.

The Commission is scathing in its report.

The following day, the Archdiocese, having been notified of the investigation by the chief superintendent, got involved in the matter.  The detective garda handling the investigation contacted an official in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) seeking advice.  The investigation stopped.  No further inquiries were made by the Gardai.

Just ponder that for a moment before we go on.  A senior officer is aware that sexual assaults have taken place.  Instead of informing his colleagues, he tells a priest and then the investigation is halted at the very highest level.  The guards didn’t interview third-party witnesses or the boy’s father.  They knew McCabe was planning to go back to the US but didn’t apply for an arrest warrant.  The investigating garda explained this by claiming that he didn’t want the boy to be exposed in the community as a victim of abuse

The Commission does not find this explanation convincing, plausible or acceptable.

In other words, we don’t believe you.

Now it gets murky.  There are conflicting accounts of what happened next, but this is the version the Commission prefers.

The priest Curley went to see another superintendent in a garda station and was given the boy’s statement to read.  After that meeting, Curley and a Bishop Williams decided that he should meet the boy’s parents, unofficially, in a Garda station, which was facilitated by the Gardai.  The Commission is satisfied that the Gardai provided the church authorities with a copy of the boy’s statement.  Later, when yet another complaint was pending, a Garda told McCabe that he was out of the woods because the warrant had expired, when in reality there had been no warrant at all.

The Commission concludes that this investigation was marred by church interference, facilitated by the Gardai, which allowed the abuser to evade justice.

In March 1987, the diocese took out an insurance policy with Church & General to cover claims of clerical abuse, despite the fact that a decade or more later, the Catholic bishops were still claiming not to understand the nature of the problem, saintly celibate men that they were.

McCabe was soon off to America again and applying for a hospital chaplaincy course.  Not a suitable line of work for a persistent paedophile, you might think, but the Dublin diocese duly sprang for the tuition fees, though in the end, he never enrolled, due to the resistance of the local bishops.  However, by bluff and bluster, he did manage to trigger their pre-programmed responses yet again.  Just like the Irish bishops, the Americans seem to be far more concerned with protecting their organisation that with protecting McCabe’s victims.

Now it turns very ugly.

Blackmail charges  In 1987, James Moran, now a young man in his mid-twenties, approaches Stenson, looking for compensation.  He threatens to go public and take legal action.

So far, so good.   The young man is clearly angry and hurt, but then he goes to his former school in Kildare where he meets the current headmaster and demands compensation under threat of media exposure  for the damage done by McCabe and also by the former headmaster, also a convicted abuser.

What happens?

The priest-headmaster complains the young man to the Gardai and alleges blackmail.  The Gardai launch an exhaustive and comprehensive investigation, not of the sexual abuse but of the victim.  They tap his phone and make comments about him and his antecedents which in the Commission’s view are scurrilous.  They send a file to the DPP with a strong recommendation that the young man be prosecuted for blackmail.

Only when the DPP refuses to proceed do the Gardai finally begin to investigate the original abuse case, but even then, they do it shabbily, haphazardly and in time-honoured ramshackle Garda fashion.  This is not an investigation on principle, but simply because the top brass are embarrassed and want it buried as fast as possible.

The investigating Garda takes a statement from Moran.  Other Gardai interview the headmaster alleged to have committed the second assault (and later convicted of multiple offences), they interview Stenson but by then, McCabe is laicised and out of the clergy.

It comes to nothing, but a young man is further traumatised by an aggressive investigation and an official attempt to destroy his good name.

Yet again, the Irish State is not looking good.

Meanwhile, in America, McCabe was lying as usual. He wasn’t on the course he agreed to join and the course director, a nun, was suspicious.  While the Irish bishops dithered, the Sacramento church authorities kicked him off the course and told him to go home.  Somehow, incredibly, McCabe managed to obtain a favourable psychology report and eventually in May 1987 he secured work as a priest in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

According to the Commission, Stenson spoke by phone to an official from the Sacramento diocese, concerning McCabe’s activities during May 1987.   His notes include this stark statement:

Urgent to get him out of the USA — to anywhere.

They brought him home and sent him for more treatment in England, although by now, nobody thought he could be cured.  They wanted rid of him and they sent the laicisation papers to Rome at the end of 1987 but he still came back to Ireland and managed to get a job working with young  people — a short-lived post after Stenson rang the new employers to advise them of McCabe’s tendencies.

It still didn’t stop.  In 1988 he abused another child in a school whose headmaster was later convicted of sexual abuse, yet still, the bishops were calling psychiatrists and not police.

And then the case takes a final twist.

Stockton  McCabe obtained a job in Stockton California, working with homeless people.  In order to salve their consciences, the Irish bishops made a cursory check to make sure that there were no children involved and once they were satisfied of that, they took no further action.  The people of Stockton were about to receive a predatory paedophile into their midst and the Irish bishops, including the newly-appointed Desmond Connell, were not about to warn them.  McCabe was laicised in March 1988 and as far as the bishops were concerned, that was the end of their responsibility.

Around that time, a Garda inspector called to Stenson looking for McCabe, and when he was informed that the wanted man was now out of the country, he replied they’ll hardly send me to America for him.

According to Stenson’s notes, the Guards are aware that should the matter surface in the Sunday World in two or three years time, it is important for them to have covered their tracks.  Hence the present inquiry.

The question is, whose tracks were being covered?

It’s hardly surprising that the Commission wearily comments on McCabe’s various visits to Dublin in later years

 … given the Garda approach to the matter in 1988, the Commission is not convinced that any notification would have been acted upon.

In October 1995, a priest of the archdiocese informed the archbishop that McCabe would be in the country for ten days.  Desmond Connell did not inform the Gardai.  In November, when the archdiocese provided the Gardai with a list of priests against whom complaints had been received, in an outstanding instance of the now notorious mental reservation, they omitted McCabe because he was no longer a priest.

In June 1998 McCabe again returned to Dublin.  The archdiocese was aware of it and failed to notify the Gardai.  (McCabe was arrested in the USA in August 2010 and extradited to Ireland in June 2011.  He was jailed for 18 months and released in March this year, taking account of the time he had already spent in custody.  He is now 77 years old).

Summary.  The Commission pulls no punches in its conclusions of this case.  It’s enough to quote three examples illustrating the outrage of the author.

  • This case encapsulates everything that was wrong with the archdiocesan handling of child sex abuse cases.
  • It seems the welfare of children simply did not play any part in [Archbishop Ryan’s] decisions.
  • The connivance by the Gardai in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing Fr McCabe to leave the country is shocking.

Our country is undergoing a period of intense self-examination.  While we’re still receptive to this sort of scrutiny, we need to examine closely the implications of the redacted Murphy Commission findings, not only for the relationship between church and state, but also for the nature of our police force.



Redacted Chapter 20 Murphy Report

All posts on the Murphy Report

James Moran



Trevor Sargent Resigns Following Political Action by Gardai

Is this the start of the coup?  It seems that elements within our police force have colluded with a political party to force the resignation of a government minister.

Trevor Sargent has resigned after a letter he wrote in June 2008 to a policeman became public.

The letter concerned a man who complained to a parent about vandalism, and was  headbutted and hospitalised for his trouble.

Now, if I had been headbutted by the scumbag father of a scumbag vandal, I might well find myself engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour too, and if I was charged by the local cops, as a result of trying to prevent vandalism in my neighbourhood, I think I’d be outraged.

I’d expect my elected representatives to be just as outraged, and that’s exactly how Sargent felt about it.

Sargent wrote to a policeman involved, complaining that this man had been charged when all he was trying to do was prevent vandalism in his area, but the police went ahead with the prosecution anyway and the man received a fine.

That was two years ago.

Recently, as everyone knows now, the Green Party insisted on Willie O’Dea’s removal from office because he swore a false statement to the High Court.

The minister for justice, Dermot Ahern, was particularly vocal in defending O’Dea’s abuse of the court.

Now, within a few days, the letter from Sargent to the police has been passed to a newspaper and Sargent has resigned in an apparent act of political revenge by Fianna Fáil.

It isn’t immediately apparent that what Sargent did was illegal.

According to the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, it is legal for a person to communicate with a Garda  as  a social worker. Since the Act does not require such a person to be formally employed as a social worker, it could reasonably be argued that Trevor Sargent was acting as a social worker and was therefore within his rights in writing to the police.

In my opinion, the Green Party panicked and allowed Sargent to resign prematurely, but now that he’s gone, here are a few questions.

  • Did a Garda copy the lettter from the police file ?
  • When was the letter copied – was it immediately on receipt,  or was it in the last week?
  • Who was the copy given to — was it a reporter or somebody else?
  • Who informed the newspaper about the existence of the letter?
  • Who passed the letter to the reporter was it a Garda or somebody else?

While its by no means obvious that Trevor Sargent did anything illegal in  writing to the policeman, I think it’s certainly a crime to copy a confidential police file and pass the details to a third party.

Will  some policeman be charged with a crime?

Will some Fianna Fáil politician be charged with a crime?

Will  the Minister for Justice be asked in the Dáil to explain how a Garda file was passed to the newspapers only days after he had personally defended the actions of Willie O’Dea in misleading the courts?

Given the contempt for the High Court displayed recently by the minister for justice, the defence minister and the prime minister, this is a very dangerous development for our fragile democracy.


The Prosecution of Offences Act 1974, Section 6, states as follows:-

6.—(1) ( a ) Subject to the provisions of this section it shall not be lawful to communicate with the Attorney General or an officer of the Attorney General, the Director or an officer of the Director the Acting Director, a member of the Garda Síochána or a solicitor who acts on behalf of the Attorney General in his official capacity for the Director in his official capacity, for the purpose of influencing making of a decision to withdraw or not to initiate criminal proceedings or any particular charge in criminal proceedings.

( b ) If a person referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection becomes of opinion that a communication is in breach of that paragraph, it shall be the duty of the person not to entertain the communication further.

(2) ( a ) This section does not apply to—

(i) communications made by a person who is a defendant or a complainant in criminal proceedings or believes that he is likely to be a defendant in criminal proceedings, or

(ii) communications made by a person involved in the matter either personally or as legal or medical adviser to a person involved in the matter or as a social worker or a member of the family of a person involved in the matter.

( b ) In this subsection “member of the family” means wife, husband, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, a person who is the subject of, or in whose favour there is made, an adoption order under the Adoption, Act 1952 and 1964.

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PSNI Chief Constable Replacement

Hugh Orde is due to step down as Chief Constable of the PSNI, and now I hear speculation that he might be replaced by a member of the Gardaí, but I think this is unlikely.


Because a basic requirement of the job is the ability to talk without dribbling, that’s why.

gardai Policing

Garda Commissioner On The Radio

Did anyone hear the Garda Commissioner on the radio yesterday morning?

Well?  What did you think of Fachtna Murphy’s performance?

I found it dispiriting, in a time when we were never more in need of a professional police force, to hear their leader mouthing pre-digested platitudes, as if that sort of pompous old nonsense still impresses us.

What struck me most of all was the poverty of his imagination.

I don’t care how good their detection rate is.  I don’t care how many murders they solved.  It makes no difference to me how many people they caught after the fact.  Why can’t he figure that out?

I don’t care.

So they catch my murderer?  What good is that to me after I get a bullet in the head?  What use is it to all the victims of crime if Fachtna Murphy’s boys and girls found out who did it?

I don’t care who did it.  I don’t want it to happen in the first place, and when I heard Murphy going on with all this pious old shit I realised we’re in the wrong hands.

This is just another sad old Irish cop who fails to understand that reactive policing isn’t good enough.

We don’t want detection.  We want protection.

Did you ever hear such an out-of-touch old dinosaur trying to spin the failures of his management in a positive light?  Oh, wait a minute — did I say management?  Did I somehow contrive to use the word management for a police force that thinks raiding pubs will solve the country’s crime problems?

You probably don’t know what I mean, so I suppose I should tell you. Did you know that one of the central tenets of received wisdom within our police force is the following gem: control the bars and you control public order offences.

Now, the fact that this belief is entirely unsupported by empirical evidence doesn’t deter these geniuses from continuing to believe it.  Indeed not, and why would it?  After all, these old crusties who run our police force are cut from the same cloth as the venerable Fachtna Murphy.  Authoritarian, old-fashioned policemen from the DeValera age, who have all, without exception, failed to make the transition to the 21st century.

We do not have a modern police force in this country.  Let’s be clear about that.  We don’t have a police force in touch with technology, or strategic thinking, or professional management techniques.

What’s worse, we don’t have a police force in touch with the middle ground: you and me.  Our police force is far more comfortable alienating your support and mine by petty bullying, by raiding pubs, by being obnoxious to the middle-ground people like you and me, by swaggering around on a contemptible power trip, when it should be confronting real criminals.  Instead, our semi-detached police force thinks that people like you and me are the threat, and treats us as such, while psychotic, demented families have the freedom to do as they please.


Because our police force wants an easy life and finds itself far more comfortable bullying people who won’t fight back.  People like you and me.

The people who pay their wages.


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The Morris Tribunal and the Wall of Silence

The sixth report of the Morris Tribunal was published today.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you might know something about the disgraceful behaviour of the Gardai in Donegal that led to the setting up of the tribunal.  They framed, suspects, beat them up in custody, manufactured evidence, lied to their superiors and ultimately tried to lie their way out of the tribunal.

But Mr Justice Fred Morris is a crafty old bird and he saw through the lies.  I’ll just give you a flavour of what he said in his report and you can read the whole lot on the tribunal web site if you want to.  Have a look at these extracts in Morris’s own words:

  • Once again, the Tribunal was faced with Garda­ who were determined to hide the truth of what happened. They made statements to their superiors which were in many instances minimalist in their detail and failed to give a fully truthful account; in a number of instances the statements were a complete fabrication.

  • It was disturbing to find a  deep seated reluctance to concede that a colleague had acted  incorrectly or wrongfully or that the complaints made by the detainees were true the wall of silence was maintained.

  • Unfortunately, this approach extended to and was encouraged by senior officers in this investigation and in the overall approach adopted by An Garda Síochána to external complaints.

  • The deficiencies observed by the Tribunal in the manner in which An Garda Síochána acted in these matters, by their nature, are not peculiar to Donegal. Issues of accountability, tunnel vision, the proper investigation of offences, the treatment of persons in custody, and responsible leadership of criminal investigations, are all issues related  to general policing.

  • The Tribunal has already referred to the wall of silence that has been experienced in dealing with policemen at home and abroad when they  are faced with allegations of misconduct. This may be viewed with the  other phenomenon of Garda speak which the Tribunal has  encountered over the last number of years, and an understanding by Garda­ that they are expected only to give the minimum amount of  detail in respect of any controversy in which the Garda­ are involved.

  • Gardaí­ should give a full and truthful account in every statement which they make in all cases whether civil or criminal. It is regrettable that  such a basic proposition in relation to telling the truth should have to be spelt out in this way.

  • False evidence was manipulated by members of An Garda Síochána in an effort to implicate suspects whom the Gardaí­­ believed were responsible for the Late Richard Barron’s death. Proper methods of investigation were not employed. Statements were not properly taken from witnesses.

  • Lies and negligence led to the arrest of innocent people and the disruption of  their lives, at a terrible human and social cost for some of them.

  • The most obvious forensic manifestation of this disaster was the procurement from Mr. Frank McBrearty Junior of a false confession, which coincided to a large extent with the incorrect theory upon which the investigation had proceeded. The statement itself was the product of a complete and systematic failure of policing at a number of levels, from the most senior officers leading the inquiry, to those conducting the interviews of certain witnesses and suspects, and a failure to analyse statements and evidence obtained.

  • In this jurisdiction, unfortunately, this has not been a unique occurrence. The Tribunal is now aware of the case of the Late Dean Lyons, in which a false confession was also obtained by members of An Garda Síochána in the course of a murder investigation. Thus, in two very serious recent inquiries, two detainees have yielded false confessions in respect of crimes of which they were innocent.

This is only a small sample of the things Mr Justice Morris has to say about our police force.  He accuses them of dishonesty, incompetence, and institutionalised abuse of suspects throughout Ireland.  Despite what the Justice Minister, Brian Lenihan suggested today, it was not the work of a small number of policemen in Donegal.  This problem is nationwide, and anyone who takes the trouble to read Morris’s reports will be able to see that plainly.

At a time when we need it more than ever, our police force is in deep trouble because of a lack of professional management, professional standards and professional skills.  It’s a cloistered, monastic cabal that regards the population at large as the enemy.  It’s quite willing to harass the average citizen for a minor infringement while at the same time being more than happy to avoid confrontation with the serious criminals who threaten the very existence of civil society.

If our police force is such deep trouble, then we, the citizens are in very serious danger, and nobody in government seems to have the imagination to see that and do something about it.  Fred Morris has done a tremendous job protecting our democracy, and yet Brian Lenihan cynically tried to bury the report by releasing it on the same day a new Taoiseach takes office.  This is a disgrace, but it’s revealing.  This shows you a political mindset that can’t see the danger in having a corrupt and demoralised police force.

We are in big trouble.





Freddy’s back: the Morris Tribunal

McBrearty Settles Action Against Irish State for ‚¬3 Million
Losing hearts and minds

Gardai Deny Farting At Suspect

Do You Know Your Daddy’s a Murderer?

Gardai Deny Everything

Drink Driving Charges

Oh those funny old Guards

Police and thieves

The Cannibal Murders

The Cannibal Murders Revisited

The Heart of Darkness

The Professionals

What actually happened at Abbeylara

Who killed Richie Barron?

Worst police force in Europe

Internet Data and Email : New Powers for Irish Police



Irish Election


Irish Times

gardai Policing

Brian Rossiter — Report on Death of Child in Custody Due Shortly

In 2002, 14-year-old Brian Rossiter came home with a black eye and headaches after being attacked by a man in Clonmel. Two days later he was arrested on a public order charge. His father, Pat Rossiter, received a phone call from the gardai asking him to come to the station where they told him that Brian had overdosed on drugs and alcohol. When the police told him that his son had been on a drink and drugs binge for four or five days, Pat Rossiter consented to the child’s detention overnight because he felt a shock would teach him a lesson.

Pat Rossiter, unlike a Garda, is not a professional and therefore wouldn’t know that it is illegal to detain a child in this way.

The Gardai, who did know that it was illegal, imprisoned the child anyway.

The following morning Brian was taken to hospital having been found comatose in the cell. Pat Rossiter received a phone call from the gardai to say that his son had gone cold turkey and was in withdrawal. He went to the hospital and met detectives who suggested to him that Brian had taken a lot of ecstasy and had overdosed. The police also told doctors at the hospital that Brian had taken fifteen to seventeen ecstasy tablets, and later informed the State Pathologist that Brian had taken a large amount of drugs and alcohol. In reality, as subsequent tests showed, Brian Rossiter had no drugs or alcohol in his system. On the other hand, when admitted to hospital from police custody, the fourteen-year-old displayed symptoms consistent with having been punched or kicked in the groin.

Brian died.

A local man, Noel Hannigan, 25, was subsequently arrested and charged with assault causing harm for head-butting the child. When his case came to court, the police added an additional charge of manslaughter without consulting the Director of Public Prosecutions — a charge immediately withdrawn on the instructions of the DPP, who announced that it had been added without his approval.

The State Pathologist found on post mortem examination that Brian died of a slow haemorrhage, most likely caused by the assault, but was later contradicted by two British pathologists, who concluded that the child had died as a result of an injury inflicted while in police custody or immediately preceding his arrest, and not 36 hours earlier, when he was assaulted by Noel Hannigan.

Just over two years after his son was killed, while walking home with relatives, Pat Rossiter, was also arrested on public order charges — an increasingly common, and convenient, reason for arrest in Ireland. Interestingly, this arrest was made by the same policeman who had been in charge of the station the night young Brian died. Pat Rossiter was thrown into the same cell his son had died in, where he had to spend an entire tortured night. When his case came to court, the arresting guard told the court that he did not know who Mr Rossiter was when he arrested him, even though Mr Rossiter is a well-known taxi driver in the town. He also stated that he was unaware of the case Mr Rossiter had taken against an Garda Síochána. The Court threw out the case. Declaring that the charges were groundless, the Judge was highly critical of the Garda evidence against Mr Rossiter.

The Minister for Justice set up a statutory inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Brian Rossiter, but under a very restrictive and obscure piece of legislation that does not allow witnesses to be compelled, or provide protection against actions for defamation. Its terms of reference were severely limited, prompting this complaint from the Rossiters’ lawyer: the terms of reference for the Inquiry do not include an investigation of the cause of Brian Rossiter’s death. Neither is the inquiry tasked with forming an opinion on who killed Brian.

Here are the precise terms of reference:

That the arrest of Brian Rossiter of 11 Mount Prospect, Clonard, County Wexford in Clonmel on the 10th day of September 2002 was unlawful;

That the said Brian Rossiter was unlawfully assaulted during the course of his arrest and detention;

That the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Síochána Stations) Regulations 1987 (S.I. No. 119/1987) were infringed in relation to the detention of the said Brian Rossiter

That the detention in Clonmel Garda Station of the said Brian Rossiter was unlawful;

That ambulance personnel, medical personnel and/or Dr. Marie Cassidy [State pathologist] were wrongfully given incorrect information concerning the consumption of alcohol and drugs by the said Brian Rossiter;

That all the circumstances of the death of the said Brian Rossiter were not fully investigated and all witnesses were not interviewed

Nothing there about who killed the child or how he was killed, you’ll notice.

Nevertheless, despite its shortcomings and limitations, the report is now complete and Pat Rossiter has received a copy.

I know what happened to my son, he says.

The family’s lawyer has written to the minister asking what will be done about “very serious findings against named gardai”.

The minister’s office has said that an abridged version of the report will be issued “within weeks” and I’ll have a lot more to say about that when it comes out.



Lynch & Partners Summary

Lynch & Partners Update

Crime Favourites gardai Policing Scandal

The Framing of Frank Shortt

Did anyone see the programme on RTE tonight about the activities of our disgraceful police force? A rabble. A bunch of indisciplined, corrupt thugs who attacked a night-club in Donegal, threatened and intimidated customers, smashed up furniture and vandalised the building. Animals who stripped some of the customers naked in public: casual sexual abuse and degradation. A crowd of liars and criminals — not a police force in any sense you might understand the term — who falsified evidence and perjured an innocent club-owner into prison, in the words of the judge who eventually freed him.

We are policed by a crowd of unprofessional, power-mad farm-labourers in uniform who continue to treat our citizens with boorish contempt.

This is what I wrote about it twelve months ago, and nothing has improved since.


March 23rd 2007

Did you ever hear of Frank Shortt?

Probably not, but I won’t be long telling you who he is.

Frank Shortt owned a bar in Donegal, and in 1995 he was convicted of allowing drugs to be sold on his premises. The bastard!!, you might say.


In its judgement last Wednesday, the Irish Supreme Court increased an earlier award to Frank Shortt for miscarriage of justice from â€1.93 million to â€4.5 million.

He was imprisoned, lost his business, his family and his health and was struck off as an accountant because Irish policemen lied to put him in jail. As Mr Justice Hardiman remarked in his judgement, Frank Shortt was perjured into prison by the Irish police.

This was one of the most damning judgements ever handed down by the Irish Supreme Court and continues a long line of disastrous investigations into the most inept and corrupt police force in Europe.

You only have to read the Morris report to see what these guys are like.

Here’s Mr Justice Morris, quoted in an earlier post:

The Tribunal has been staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordination it has found in the Garda force. There is a small, but disproportionately influential, core of mischief-making members who will not obey orders, who will not follow procedures, who will not tell the truth and who have no respect for their officers.

These are the people we pay to stand between us and the criminals. Maybe we should reconsider. Maybe we need to pay criminals to stand between us and the Guards. Maybe there isn’t any difference.


Gardai Deny Farting at Suspect

Gardai Deny Everything

Who Killed Richie Barron?

Freddy’s Back

Do you know your Daddy’s a murderer?

Police and thieves

The Heart of Darkness

Three tragic deaths

The Cannibal Murders

Anti-social behaviour orders

Non-lethal weapons

Oh those funny old Guards

The Professionals

Losing hearts and minds

Crime Favourites gardai Policing

McBrearty Settles Action Against Irish State for €3 Million

Over a year ago, I wrote about the disgraceful actions of the police in framing, intimidating and harassing a Donegal businessman, Frank McBrearty. Read about it here should you feel inclined.

Well, today, Frank McBrearty and his wife, Rosalind, settled their personal action against the State for €3 Million. This is on top of the €2.5 Million they were awarded last week by the courts for the damage the police had deliberately done to their business. And on top of their €1 Million legal costs. That’s €6,500,000 of your money, handed out to compensate for disgraceful behaviour by our police force.

Then there was the case of Frank Shortt, “Perjured into jail” in the words of the the Supreme Court, when awarding him €4.5 Million for what the police did to him. As I said in the earlier post, he was imprisoned, lost his business, his family and his health and was struck off as an accountant because policemen lied to put him in jail.

That makes €11 Million so far, of our money, to cover the costs occasioned by an indisciplined, unprofessional police force.

The reports of the Morris Tribunal make chilling reading. To quote from its chairman:

The Tribunal has been staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordination it has found in the Garda force. There is a small, but disproportionately influential, core of mischief-making members who will not obey orders, who will not follow procedures, who will not tell the truth and who have no respect for their officers.

Now let me ask you a question: apart from the dismissal of a few random miscreants within the force, do you think the Garda Siochana will suffer the root-and-branch examination it deserves? Or do you think the culture of untouchability and ignorance will remain as deeply rooted as it has been since the force went corrupt back in the Seventies when they recruited a cadre of uinprincipled and crooked thugs to beat up IRA suspects?

These thugs saw membership of the force as a chance to enrich themselves, and fouled the entire culture of the organisation with a contagion that remains to this day and is passed on to every new recruit through the semi-monastic training establishment they call the Garda College, where young men learn to be “members” of the Garda cabal, and where all other citizens — you and me, in other words — are seen as potential criminals.

And let me ask you another question: do you think for a second that these are isolated incidents or that this sort of thing could never happen again?

Previous posts

Gardai Deny Farting at Suspect

Gardai Deny Everything

Who Killed Richie Barron?

Do you know your Daddy’s a murderer?

Three tragic deaths

The Cannibal Murders

The Professionals

Losing hearts and minds

Policing Politics Religion

Sikhs, Turbans and the Irish Police

You know what a reasonable, tolerant man I am except when I have to oppress idiots who disagree with me. Everyone knows that I’ll put up with anything except idiocy and intolerance.

So why has this turban thing got me so confused?

A Sikh is refused membership of the Garda reserve because he won’t take off his turban while in uniform. This is Ireland, so everybody instantly adopts entrenched and opposing positions. Insults are thrown.


Religious nutcase!!

Go back to India!

Stupid police!

I’ve heard people saying that the Sikhs’ religion should be respected, that the British police, the Canadian police, the US army, the British army and just about everybody else in the world allow Sikhs to wear their turbans while on duty.

This is true.

People will tell you that Sikhs are civic-spirited and decent people who have shown great courage in both World Wars and whose instinct is to contribute in a positive way to society at large.

This is undoubtedly true.

People say religious practice needs to be respected.

This is less true, though Sikhism seems to be at the fairly harmless end of the scale. Look at Rastafarianism, a religion that believes Haile Selassie – a dead, mass-murderering despot – is God. While you’re at it, look at the majority religion on this island, Catholicism. The followers of this religion worship a biscuit.

What to think? I don’t know.

On the one hand, the turban is an integral part of what it means to be a Sikh. It’s an article of faith, so to speak. Furthermore, we need diversity in all our public services – not just the police. And what harm can it be to allow the turban? That’s one thing I’m thinking.

The other thing I’m thinking is, why? What’s so important about any religion that it should get a free pass? Sikhs, I’m thinking, are fairly inoffensive people, except when they’re assassinating Indian heads of state and the like. They don’t try and tell me what to do with my private life. They’re law-abiding, upright and honest, so why not let them wear the symbol of their religion? Well, I answer myself, because that’s all it is: a religion.

It isn’t a race. It’s a religion.

Now I’m in a quandary.

What to think?

Well, I remember the Catholic maniacs who used to roam this land not so long ago and who are now merely hibernating. Suppose one of these guys decides to join the Garda Reserve? Suppose some quasi-fascist asshole like the revolting Justin Barrett should decide to oppress me in the name of his demented religion? And supposing the Justin-thing should decide that a uniform was the very thing to rally his supporters around him. And supposing the Justin-creature decided that his religion gave him the right to wear a cross on his uniform as a sign of his faith? And supposing this cross was a very special cross, with four equal-length legs, and little kinks at the end of them?

Well, that’s why, unfortunately, at the moment I’m tending to think the Sikhs should not be allowed to wear their turbans as part of a police uniform. Not because I have anything against them. I don’t. In fact, I think they’re generally a fine bunch of people.

It’s because I don’t see why any religion should be entitled to special treatment, and because, if a special exemption was made for Sikhs, our own home-grown fundamentalist dip-sticks would abuse it.

I am open to having my opinion changed about all this, however.

Now, on the positive side, I think Sikhs are exempt from the turban rule when they swim, though I’m not sure what the rule is about visiting outer space. I know the Guards have no interplanetary division, except at senior management level, but they do a lot of river- and sea-searches. Maybe he could join the sub-aqua unit. They might give him a reserve tank.