For at least four decades allegations of systemic corruption have swirled around sections of An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police service. These have stretched from repeated claims of undue influence by and cover-ups on behalf of the main establishment parties, the press and major business interests to long-standing suspicions of individual links to the country’s rising criminal underworld (not to mention senior members of the Gardaí acting as paid agents for foreign intelligence services since the 1970s, apparently with the full knowledge of successive Irish governments). As I wrote early last year:
“The importation, sale and production of illegal narcotics generates huge revenues for organised criminal gangs and their associates in most nation-states across the Western world. These black-market operations do not exist in isolation but are part of far larger networks of co-operation that exist on both domestic and international levels. Truly successful “narco-gangs” survive in part because they have suborned a significant portion of the citizenry: specifically those in positions of power and influence, and those who can impede or facilitate their criminal enterprises. This has been observed in several Latin American nations, in Asia, in Africa and in a number of European territories. So can we really believe repeated assurances that our island nation (where several underworld gangs have diversified or morphed into narco-terrorist organisations, deploying automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices and no end of willing recruits), is free of corruption or undue influences in the spheres of politics, policing and the judiciary?”
Is it any surprise that in such a situation independent politician Mick Wallace TD can legitimately make the claims he did in An Dáil during the week? Claims which the vast majority of the news media have shied away from or simply ignored altogether.