Bill to make gardaí account for their actions

The ‘Blue Wall’ is what Gordon Holmes calls it. The fact that, currently, a Garda cannot be compelled by a superior to talk. From the IT:

The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell is to introduce legislation which would compel gardaa­ to account for their actions when asked to do so by their superiors.

News that all members of the force are to lose their right to silence comes as the chairman of the Garda Complaints Board, Gordon Holmes, said investigations by the board were frequently met with a wall of silence, “a problem internationally known as the Blue Wall”.

It goes on:

Justice Morris said some gardaa­ believed that before accounting for their movements to a superior officer they had the right to consult their solicitor, their staff representative association or that they had the right to remain silent on constitutional grounds. This was not acceptable, Mr McDowell said.

“It is my intention to make it very, very clear in the legislation … that there is an absolute duty running from the very top to the very bottom of An Garda Sa­ochana to be wholly accountable for the way in which you discharge the functions that you do. That will be written in large letters for everyone to see and for nobody to deny.”


Mr McDowell said the 5 per cent increase in the number of complaints received by the Garda Complaints Board last year was not a significant increase.

But then the complaints system has been known to be inadequate for so long, I doubt the figures published reflect the real figure. Just like crime figures, not everything is reported. And I would imagine that things being the way they are for so long, most people wouldn’t see the point in going near the Garda Complaints Board.