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…