Am I the only one who believes that the “breathalyser tests” scandal in An Garda Síochána is failing to receive the political and media outrage it deserves? Yes, it has made some headlines, but quite honestly there has been far less anger and disgust at this flagrant corruption – that is, dishonest or fraudulent behaviour – by hundreds of gardaí than I was expecting. This is even more perplexing when one takes into account that their actions almost certainly took place in an organised manner, where officers conspired with each other to record fake breathalyser examinations and traffic checkpoints. The feeling of a state closing institutional ranks to protect its own is prevalent. As we have witnessed in a string of abuse allegations against An Garda going back to the infamous Clare Daly affair in 2013 (and long before that), the policing service seems to be a law unto itself.
Yesterday’s report by the policing ombudsman into the affair has confirmed the initial investigations and allegations made since the start of the year. Among the findings in the “Crowe Horwath Report to Policing Authority; Review of Matters Related to Mandatory Intoxicant Testing and the Issue of Summonses by the Garda Síochána” are these astonishing figures.
- 1.8 million fraudulent breath tests recorded by serving gardaí between 2011 and 2016.
- 149,426 incorrect summonses issued by serving gardaí between 2006 and 2016.
- 14,736 possible convictions imposed because of incorrectly issued summonses, with 11,218 of those appealed through the courts.
Can we expect dozens or perhaps hundreds of gardaí to face disciplinary repercussions for their actions, as you or I would do so if we provided false evidence to our employers on our work performance, not just once or twice, but consistently over a period of years? Will we see senior politicians and civil servants, current and former government ministers, brought to task for encouraging and abiding such behaviour through their policies and statements? Whether knowingly or otherwise?
Will we fuck…
C’mon, Judge Greally propped up perjuring plod at Jobstown, plus, the murderers of Eddie Fullerton.
Possibly the worst side-effect of this is that it encourages the natural ‘feck it, everyone else is doing it’ streak in us – eroding the structures of the ‘common weal’ (which are under strain these days anyway). I don’t know if anyone has any respect for the Gardaí as an institution any more.
Yep, that belief, that everyone is on the take so why shouldn’t I, is absolutely corrosive.
If there had been some massaging of the figures I wouldn’t be surprised. We’re all human and we all do it in our jobs to some extent. I wouldn’t be overly concerned if it was on a very small scale and no one was effected, legally or financially. However the scale of the fraudulent activity, and the number of people effected with summonses and so on, is staggering.
The worse reaction has been from certain ex-gardaí and journalists close to gardaí, questioning the minutiae of the report and trying to spin it. Plus the nonsense about, well it doesn’t compare to white cops shooting down black suspects in the streets for the crime of being black. Apparently that is now an excuse for own cops to get away with everything short of murder.
The brass neck definitely sticks in the craw! It occurred to me listening to the Garda union rep that the man either had to be totally distanced from what ordinary people think about the Gardaí or else he was in such a strong position that public opinion didn’t matter a jot to him compared to the approval of his members.
I suppose every small town has stories of favouritism, covering up of rapes and beatings, dereliction of duty but the massive scale of this has to draw a reaction. In a real democracy politicians would be queing up to give a kicking.