So the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has finally jumped ship after a catalogue of controversies involving allegations of systemic corruption within Irish law enforcement. However, lo an’ behold, hot on the heels of his splashdown comes news of another scandal-in-waiting. It seems that phone-calls to and from a significant number of Garda stations in Ireland have been recorded and filed as a matter of routine since the 1980s, including private communications between detained citizens and their legal representatives. With no regulatory, judicial or democratic oversight or even the knowledge of any recent governments (though one suspect the further back in time one goes the less tenable that particular claim will be) An Garda Síochána has taken it upon itself the right to act above the law, no doubt in its own best interests. Ironically the revelations have entered the public domain largely because of two court cases: one involving several Gardaí charged with (and convicted of) assault and another as yet unspecified investigation. Hoisted by their own petard! Just as interesting is the manner in which the slow drip of scandals has led to government in-fighting as minsters air their differences over the airwaves. Less edifying though is the hypocrisy of the Irish news media several of whose more prominent members have made ample use of their Garda connections to ensure that their own legal misdemeanours were wiped from the record. Quite literally. Though you won’t be reading about that here in Ireland. For that we need to rely on the international press.
Ah, the dear oul sod. As rotten as ever.