Categories
Politics

Enda Kenny Pretends to Apologise to Maurice McCabe And Puts His Own Credibility On The Line

Enda Kenny said he has no problem apologising to Maurice McCabe for the issues that he raised and for the fact that his raising these matters wasn’t dealt with more speedily in the first instance.

Let’s analyse that.

Firstly, Enda doesn’t actually apologise for anything.  He simply says that he would have no problem apologising in certain circumstances.

What are those circumstances?

the issues that he raised and for the fact that his raising these matters wasn’t dealt with more speedily in the first instance

Enda has no business apologising to Maurice McCabe for the issues he raised, since Enda didn’t bring them about, but let’s look at the second part of his sentence

the fact that his raising these matters wasn’t dealt with more speedily in the first instance

Does anyone think speed is the issue?

Nonsense.

The reality is that everyone, from the Garda middle management to the Commissioner, from the Department of Justice to the minister and on to Enda Kenny himself, did their best to portray Maurice McCabe as a troublemaker.  They did their best to silence him, all of them, including Enda Kenny.

Therefore, when Enda Kenny says he’d have no difficulty apologising to Maurice McCabe, he is talking standard-issue guff.

The Guerin report is utterly damning.  It exposes  everyone, from the local Gardai all the way up to the Commissioner as part of a completely inadequate and unprofessional policing organisation, but it also implicates the Department of Justice in the spectacular screw-up that is Irish policing.

The new Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, has twice failed to express confidence in Brian Purcell, head of the Justice department, even though this was the man sent to wave the hatchet at Martin Callinan, the doomed Garda chief.

Callinan is gone.  His political puppet-master Alan Shatter is gone.  Purcell might well be gone before the week is out, but where does that place Enda Kenny, who was more than happy to leave the garda whistleblowers swinging in the breeze  when he found it politically expedient?

As with most other things Kenny says, his expression of support for McCabe is bullshit, but in this case it might be tinged with a hint of concern  for his own political survival.  After all, he was the man who backed his justice minister when Shatter sought to rubbish what McCabe had been saying.  He was the man who dismissed the assertions that Sean Guerin subsequently found to be true and believable.

Enda Kenny’s own inquiry showed that he had been oppressing an innocent and well-intentioned man.

Therefore, by definition, Enda Kenny’s own credibility is now on the line and maybe it’s time he stood aside in favour of a leader who isn’t so quick to believe and propagate nonsense.

Somebody better than Enda, in other words.  How hard could that be?

 

 

Categories
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.

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Previously

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

 

 

 

 

[Related posts  HERE]

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Categories
Politics

Alan Shatter Resigns

Alan Shatter isn’t the bonniest baby you ever saw, but he’s gone out with the bathwater all the same in the wake of the hairy baby, Martin Callinan, and that other melancholy baby, Oliver J Connolly, the confidential recipient who confidentially received an elbow in the ribs from Shatter in the first place.

Alan Shatter Martin Callinan

I’m sorry Shatter is gone, though I won’t miss his right-wing economic views or his uncritical support of Israeli policies. However, I will miss his progressive approach to social issues, I’ll miss the fact that we no longer have a justice minister without ties of any sort to the Catholic church, and I’ll miss the fact that he was preparing to face down the entrenched monopolies of the legal profession. With Shatter gone, it will be a tougher job to tackle the outrageous and inefficient legal practices that bedevil our country, and it might well be the end of the initiative to deliver same-sex marriage. I suspect the Iona Fringe are more than pleased by today’s announcement.

Shatter in office was a very different man from Shatter in opposition. Condescending, patronising and supercilious, the Brightest Boy in the Class made little effort to disguise his contempt for those of inferior intellect — you and me, in other words. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve always argued that we need a higher calibre of intellect in our cabinet ministers than the sort of apes we’ve had to endure over the years, and perhaps that’s where the answer to the Shatter conundrum lies. After all, in stooping to the sort of shallow political jibe he used against Mick Wallace, Shatter made himself no better than the old-style Fine Gael fools he previously towered over. Likewise, by letting the mask drop, by being unable to hold back a little bit of gossip about a parliamentarian, Shatter exposed the uncomfortably close relationship a justice minister in Ireland has with the head of the police force, thus reminding us that our democracy isn’t quite as secure as some would have us believe.

We’ve always known that An Garda Síochána is given to unprofessional practices, but the Wallace case is downright sinister. Here’s an elected representative, Mick Wallace, stopped at traffic lights, illegally talking on his mobile phone when two guards pull up beside him. They don’t stop him, question him, caution him or issue a ticket. Nothing official has happened and yet, somehow, an account of the non-incident finds its way to the Garda Commissioner, who duly passes it on to the Justice minister. That’s the really worrying bit. Who considered this apparently innocuous encounter at a traffic light sufficiently important to pass it up through the ranks? And why?

Not too long ago, another elected member of our parliament, Clare Daly, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. She was handcuffed, brought to the station and a sample was taken for testing. The next morning, Gardai released details of the arrest to the press. The tests subsequently showed that Clare Daly did not exceed the blood alcohol limit.

When the Garda ombudsman commission reported suspicions that it had been bugged, Shatter hurried to rubbish the suggestions, even though the implications of such activity threatened our democracy at a very profound level. Likewise, when Garda whistleblowers John Wilson and Maurice McCabe sought to expose activities such as fabrication of evidence or, as we used to call it, framing innocent people, Shatter and the Garda Commissioner closed ranks.

Thus it was that Shatter the maverick had morphed into Shatter, the authoritarian establishment man.

What a pity. Shatter has courage. He’s sharp, intelligent, articulate and socially liberal. Even Luke Ming Flanagan, of all people, lamented his loss on radio today, but Shatter had to go when the Guerin Report came out. Even though we haven’t been given the opportunity to read it, the report seems to criticise his handling of all those things —  the GSOC fiasco, the whistleblowers, the penalty points scandal and his breach of the law by revealing what he knew of the Mick Wallace non-event.

In his dignified resignation letter, Shatter complains that Guerin failed to interview him but otherwise acknowledges his colleagues of both parties and also the officials he worked with.

I doubt we’ve seen the last of this fellow, and while I can’t say that I agree with all, or even much, of what he stands for as a politician, I can say this: he’s not a gobshite.

In Irish political terms, that’s praise indeed.

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