Garda Commissioner Tells Public Accounts Committee To Get Stuffed

Callinan dismisses concerns of Dáil committee

There are no flies on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan but he does have a rather dodgy moustache distracting attention from his message and  I don’t like the idea that our national police force is headed by Freddie Mercury.

martin callinan garda commissioner

Martin doesn’t like the idea of individual guards breaking ranks and revealing facts about The Force, because, of course, he himself made his way through the progression as all commissioners have done before him, pounding the beat, studying for the Sergeant’s exams, making Inspector, then getting Super, followed by Chief and on and on and on.  Martin knows full well the shit that goes on in the Guards, and if he doesn’t he’s not fit to be the head of our police force, but let’s not forget, this is the Commissioner who felt entitled to dismiss out of hand the findings of  High Court judge regarding the force he leads.

As I’ve often pointed out here before, an Garda Síochána is more like a Masonic brotherhood than a police force.   I’m not aware of any other European law-enforcement agency that refers to its employees as Members — are you?  In the building boom, and long before that, going right back to the Sixties, the Guards we well known as inveterate purchasers of real estate.  Many a penniless student, including myself, right through the following decades, rented houses and flats from fresh-faced young Gardai the same age as ourselves, though probably much older in their outlook.  These solid sons of farmers didn’t look too kindly on hippies like me.

I’m also not aware of a European police force that segregates all its neophytes into a single monastic environment like Templemore, inculcating the idea that the general public are all potential lawbreakers (or gougers as the Gardai refer to them).  As far as I’m aware, there is no possibility to recruit highly-qualified professional people into An Garda Síochána at a senior level.  There is no other Irish public-service organisation that does this and to the best of my knowledge, no other European law-enforcement agency has a single-tier entry system, in which all senior staff start at the bottom, though I’m open to correction.

Whatever spin Martin Callinan might be trying to put on this whistle-blower controversy, the truth is that he’s pissing up a rope, because every single person in Ireland knows what the Guards are like.   Every Irish adult remembers getting summonses fixed.  Every trader knows about the pressure to supply goods at cost or below in order to retain the goodwill of the local police.  The Guards even have a word for this: Hawk.  One of them has a hawk in vacuum cleaners and another has a hawk in computers.  It’s part of the Garda language.

We all know this.  Why are we pretending it doesn’t exist?

Who hasn’t, at the very least, considered the possibility of getting something fixed?

Now, Martin Callinan’s barely-disguised contempt for the Public Accounts Committee was, to my mind, very revealing, because it lifted the veil briefly on the central problem afflicting An Garda Síiochána which is this: the organisation doesn’t know what its role is.  Is it a security service or is it a police force?

A security service like MI5, is a properly secret organisation, amenable only to the appropriate government minister and, by virtue of national security, outside normal democratic constraints.  A police force, on the other hand, is simply that: an organisation responsible for civil policing, fighting crime, managing traffic and attending to the general business of public order.

In Ireland, since the foundation of the State, the two functions have been conflated and this has, in my view, tended to encourage on the one hand, an abuse of personal authority by individual Gardai and on the other a general feeling of impunity in the organisation as a whole.  Of course, needless to mention, the activities of the fearless Freedom Fighters in recent decades has only served to consolidate this viewpoint among the force’s “members”.

This is not to suggest that the majority of Gardai are either corrupt or power-mad.  I’ve personally known extraordinarily dedicated policemen and women, but Ireland is Ireland.  We know how this place works, and when Martin Callinan issues veiled threats towards those members of his force who might be prepared to reveal the dark secrets, all he does is damage his credibility and that of the force he leads.

When the head of an organisation that is not only a police force, but also a security service, displays such insolence to elected members of our national parliament, we need to take the implications very seriously indeed.


23 thoughts on “Garda Commissioner Tells Public Accounts Committee To Get Stuffed

  1. I was throwing things at the TV when he said “only 2 Garda of 13,000 had been reporting abuse”

    Is it any wonder with the persecution of the 2 who have.

    Why did no one ask him this question while he squirmed a little in the hot seat.?

    He seemed genuinely offended to be ther and to have to answer any of the awkward questions being asked.

    IMHO he should be encouraged to walk the plank, and as you point out employ some professionals to run this di- organisation properly

  2. Where we have a bunch of lying gobshites pretending to be a working and effective government how then could the top cop be anything other than exactly the same as the yokes that put him there?

  3. I think your reference to his moustache is gratuitous,that’s his own business. Otherwise I agree with you.

  4. “My Force, My Men” is a quote from Callinan at the PAC.Kinda sums it up doesn’t it. It’s OUR force you fucking dimwit !

  5. You could if you wanted to I suppose yeah , I wouldn t myself but I d definitely say it about Martin Callinan. He s the bulb of him regardless of the moustache I ve always said it.

  6. Garda Management will never want to hire professional people who are highly qualified as long as we are alive for the simple reason that they would show Garda Management for what they are, idiots. God forbid somebody might try to change the rotten toxic corrupt way of life that these so called senior Gardai live in. You see here now what happens to those who don’t tow the line, you get bullied, harassed, isolated and left out in the cold on your own with no back up from anybody. Callinan is just circling the wagons again, protecting his rotten feathered nest and he has no choice but to protect all these Superintendents that lost the run of themselves cancelling penalty points because callinan knows that the Gardai is rotten as hell. If I was to summarise the 5 hours of lies before the PAC it boils down to two simple things for me – Callinan told the PAC to go fuck themselves and he made a clear warning to the two whistleblowers to watch their backs. This is going to get very nasty.

  7. I don’t think anyone is too surprised what goes on—every sneering self important gombeen prick who grew up, nourished by the lore of FF-style malign cute-hoorism and corrupt interference with the rule of law, has always considered adherence to rules and regulations a requirement only for the “little people” who aren’t “well connected”.
    Citizens have a right to know if the workings of the police force are corrupt. If the allegations of the whistleblowers are baseless–the Gardai will be vindicated. Callinan is making an ass of himself standing in the way of transparency and accountability. He needs to decide whether he wants to be part of the past or the future of policing in a modern truly democratic Ireland.

  8. Mary-Lou takes on The Commissioner….. sounds like there is “a lot of skin and hair to fly” yet and should be very interesting (and maybe even entertaining) to follow.

    Certainly a very “strange” performance by the Commissioner, to say the least.

    It will be interesting to see what legal guidance he is given and how the PAC decides to react….

  9. One of my daughters is a Guard, so I’m very familiar with a lot that is wrong inside the force. I’m also aware that there are a lot of the members who try, in their very own little way, to be as professional as possible.

    What I saw this week was a bunch of politicians acting WELL outside their remit (public accounts??? my ass), for reasons wholly political. THE PAC’s published agenda had nothing listed about wanting to talk to whisteblowers!

    I have very little time for the head of an organisation that still has the problems that the Guards have (I’ve no idea if the Commissioner is working on these deep rooted issues or not), BUT pissing all over him in public and forgetting who we ALL call if we get into trouble, is the height of hypocrisy!! You can’t selectively criticise the Guards!

    Serious attempts to improve the Guards (from our politicians) are what’s necessary, and not the current political and media grandstanding.

    I’d be circling the wagons as well if I had to put up with this shit!

  10. In fairness to the whistleblowers they had been boxed into a corner and left with few other options, it was good that the PAC stretched their remit to help them out before they dissapeared. Under the mountain of counter accusations.

    Callinan had many other avenues open to him before he was asked to come to the PAC. maybe if he had chosen to co-operate with one of the enquiries, he would not have had to lower himself to appear accountable to the people paying his wages.

    More of this accountability to the people that’s what I want to see.

    Meanwhile let the whitewash begin

    Why can’ t the Garda not report wrong doing to the Ombudsman all the time ?

  11. If you’re a joe soap guard then you get hung out to dry and roll the dice with the the Garda Ombudsman. If you’re a sneaky corrupt knee deep in shit Superintendent then you get the protection of the upper echelons of An Garda Siochana. Now today our great Minister for Justice has said that the Garda Ombudsman is going to investigate the penalty point allegations. This begs me to ask the following questions so:-

    (1) Does this mean that the whistleblowers are not going to get their chance in front of the PAC in PUBLIC.

    (2) Why the fuck wasn’t the Garda Ombusdman tasked with investigating this from the very start. These are allegations of corruption. The whole investigation should have been taken out of the hands of An Garda Siochana from the outset. If we are going to have Gardai still investigating Gardai then the GSOC ain’t worth jack shit.

    (3) Martin Callinan and Alan Shatter have been shown in the past to share the same toilet bowl when they go for a piss. The two of them are thick as thieves and there is always a secondary motive in anything they do. Nothing is for the ‘Public Good’. So that’s why I’m suspicious as fuck about Alan Shatters reasons for all of a sudden getting GSOC to investigate these allegations.

    I smell a rat.

  12. I’m surprised at you Toff,Callinan is a servant of the State and not the other way around as he seems to think.If PAC are the only ones willing to listen to the whistleblowers who is to say otherwise?In most normal democracies he would told and not asked to shut up in very short time.The man has real shown contempt for elected members of government,and that is real worry.

  13. Toff, why is it hypocritical to criticise the people you call when you are in trouble?. Can you suggest someone else that we should call if someone is say threatening our lives?

  14. @backtowork, if I criticised a person PUBLICLY without affording them the opportunity to defend themselves, of corruption, and then expected the same person to possibly risk their lives to help me…what type of person do you think that would make me? Selfish? Morally dis-honest? Begrudging?
    As to your question on who you should call when you’re in trouble, then call the Guards. They’ll respond regardless of what they’re being accused of!

  15. As a general point, our media saturated world makes it easier than ever to make accusations against someone. Unless, as a society, we ensure that this situation is handled fairly – our legal system is the closest thing we have – then we will all be a lot worse off.
    I have no love for our Garda Commissioner, but in this case he is correct – it’s self-important politicians operating outside their remit, that is at the centre of the current controversy. It has nothing to do with justice or fairness!

  16. Firstly I’d say it’s along time since Martin Callinan risked his life to save anyone.

    if you do have to call the guards you better have some time on your hands, or a picture of the perp, and his name and address, and evidence of him committing the crime, otherwise he will be guilty of nothing.

    I asked for the community Garda for my area to contact me before Christmas, they took my detail, phone number, and I can only assume threw them in the bin when I left, as I haven’t heard jack shit from them since.

    are you referring to some Guards in an alternative Ireland where people get caught and locked up for crimes ?

    firmly believe Callinan could have spared himself any of this if he had responded positively, instead of covering his ass, like they have been found guilty of doing time and again.

    fess up, say we fucked up and stop covering up, for whoevers ass he is covering.

    People have very little respect for the guards and their abillity or lack of it.

  17. I must commend Minister Leo Varadkar on breaking ranks with the rest of the cabinet by describing the actions of Sgt McCabe and former Garda Wilson as “distinguished” as opposed to Commissioner Callinan’s description (as read into the Daíl records) of “disgusting”.

    In fairness to Varadkar, whatever else one might say about him, he had a habit of calling things as he sees them and not doing the usual “…before I answer that, let me say this…” kind of prevarication.

    In calling for Commissioner Callinan to withdraw his “disgusting” remark an that any apology to the two whistleblowers “should only come if it was heartfelt as there is no point in making an insincere apology”, he has turned up the heat on both Callinan and fellow minister Shatter.

    Fair dues to him.

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