Law will make sacking of gardaí easier

Given that Gardai can’t really be sacked – no matter how corrupt or criminal they are found to be, this on the surface seems like good news. But I seriously doubt it will ever actually be used, afterall the acts carried out in Donegal by Gardai don’t get much more serious – and no one has been sacked.

The significant new powers, described as “revolutionary” by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, are likely to provoke fury among the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

Once the powers are implemented, the commissioner will be able to bypass long-running disciplinary appeals rules and sack gardaa­ if their presence in the force “undermines public confidence”. Five gardaa­ sharply criticised by the Morris tribunal have been transferred to the Garda headquarters in Dublin from Donegal, but they have yet to face disciplinary proceedings.

Taxpayer facing 'some loss' over OPW deals – Parlon

I guess that would depend how you define ‘some’.

In Cork alone the renovation of the courthouse on Washington Street went over budget by €23 million. Yes over budget by €23 million. So one has to ask, was it a bad estimate in the first place or were the cost overruns the fault of the contracted builder? Indeed is there any comeback at all? Do the OPW just carry on as before or are the people responsible held accountable?

Parlon’s thoughts are:

Responding to criticism about Cork courthouse, Mr Parlon said “If the PAC or anyone else thinks that job could have been done for €3.8 million they have to be absolutely joking.”

He said the project had been estimated at €3.8 million a number of years ago but because it had dragged on the cost had risen to €26 million. “We will be much more careful about initial estimates for jobs in the future.”

Mr Parlon added that although he was looking forward to reading the report and taking its recommendations on board, he was annoyed “certain bits are being picked out for attention”

Money quote:

He was responding to criticisms contained in a report to be published today by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this afternoon which says more than €19 million has been wasted and €23 million overspent at OPW.

The report says the OPW spent €19 million on five properties to house asylum seekers that were never used…

Mahon Tribunal awards 10 full cost

James Gogarty has been awarded full costs by the Mahon/Planning Tribunal, as well as others:

Mr Gogarty had been seeking €3.5m in costs. Elsewhere, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern was awarded costs in relation to his evidence in May 1999 about efforts he made to establish to truth of Mr Gogarty’s claims. Mr Ahern had been seeking €269,000.

Others awarded costs today include financier Dermot Desmond, RTE and the Independent Radio and Television Commission.

Awarding full costs to all parties today, tribunal chairman Alan Mahon said the authority for deciding on the level of pay-outs to be made rested with the taxing master of the High Court.

General Electric denies TD's claim

GE have responded to claims made by Joe Higgins in relation to alleged corrupt practices:

General Electric said it strenuously denied having any involvement in any deal in relation to property in the IDA’s Clonshaugh industrial estate.

It said the General Electric company referred to by Mr Higgins had been sold by GE in December 2003.

“GE holds no interest in the property to which he referred.

“This is a totally unfounded and damaging allegation made under the privilege of the Dail. GE calls on Deputy Higgins to withdraw it immediately and to correct the records of the House,” the statement said.

Garda body tells Donegal officers to give 'honest' evidence

Last night on the Week in Politics the Garda Representative Association General Secretary, PJ Stone said that the association had been wrong in the past to advise Donegal members not to account for their actions. He is saying now that:

Those who are going out to Mr Justice Morris to give evidence, we are saying to them through our solicitor, give an accurate and full and honest account of the issue relating to your duties in Donegal

Isn’t it mad that we live in a country where the investigating body that investigates Gardai, is essentially run by the Gardai, and that it cannot compel any Garda to give evidence? I am looking forward to seeing the full text of McDowells new Garda Bill.

The Irish Examiner also reports on the story.

Barron death probe a cock-up, says garda chief

Besides the core of this story, McDowell said something very curious in the Dail recently.

But Mr McDowell said a doctrine existed at the time that it was for ‘senior gardaa­ in consultation with the DPP to decideâ€? what he and the then Justice Minister, John O’Donoghue, could see in respect of the Donegal investigations.

Mr McDowell said this doctrine was based on the ‘profoundly legally mistakenâ€? belief that the Garda Sa­ochana was ‘in privityâ€? with the DPP – meaning they kept between themselves matters of such importance.

The Gardai in privity with the DPP? What? How long has this been going on?

When the DPP was established in 1974 by Professor John Kelly it was said that was on of its primary aims was:

…to ensure, as will be generally agreed to be desirable, that our system for the prosecution of offences should not only be impartial but should be seen to be so, and that it should not only be free from outside influence but should be manifestly so.

In 1999 the then Minister for Justice, O’Donoghue said:

I have respected and will continue to respect the separate role of the Garda Sa­ochana in the investigation of crime and of the DPP in prosecuting crime.

But all this time they were working together? Is this only news to me?

The full, and indeed fascinating debate from Friday’s session (the session that is not broadcast on Oireachtas Report) can be read here, with a lengthy explanation from McDowell. The full quote reads:

Unfortunately, it was the case at the time, doubtless in good faith, that there was a doctrine that the Garda Sa­ochana was in privity with the Director of Public Prosecutions and that it was open to senior gardaa­ in consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide what the then Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue and myself could see in respect of the investigations being carried out in Donegal.

As I pointed out later, that view was profoundly legally mistaken.

The debate continues with some clarifications and background, and harsh exchanges with Brendan Howlin who said that

There are people who have suffered, who continued to suffer and who still feel we are exposing the truth like an onion, layer by layer. They feel there is now a rush to say there is an awfulness ‘out thereâ€? and we will close that chapter and move on. That will not wash now. It will not wash to have partial solutions railroaded through this House next week. This House watched with horror miscarriages of justice elsewhere in the world. We have our own scandal here and now, our Birmingham Six and Guilford Four and much more. Few issues matter more to the well-being of our citizens than good policing. For once, let this House be strong enough to do all that is required.

O'Donoghue denies he obstructed setting up tribunal

The former Justice Minister, John O’Donoghue has denied he obstructed the setting up of an inquiry into the events in Donegal:

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John O’Donoghue rejected claims he obstructed the setting up of the Morris tribunal when he held the justice portfolio.

“I was never against the principle of a public inquiry, but clearly establishing a tribunal of inquiry was not something to be undertaken lightly. As far back as February 2001, I made it clear to Dail a‰ireann that I had an open mind as regards the setting up of a tribunal.”

Minister agrees that many are owed apology

McDowell has been going on again about this apology that the State is going to make to the families in Donegal affected by Garda corruption.

Michael McDowell said yesterday the McBrearty family would be getting an apology from the State. The first thing they had to do was to allow the Morris tribunal to run its course so that the full number of things in respect of which an apology was due would be known by the public.

“I think it’s very, very clear from the attitude that I’ve adopted that I fully acknowledge that what was done to them was evil and wrong and that they are due an apology,” he said.

Asked if the Barrons would be getting an apology also, he replied: “The Barrons, the Gallaghers, the Peoples, the McConnells and many other people who were damaged and injured by the procedure.”

Meanwhile the impending legal action against the State will continue and the family of the late Richie Barron are not just demanding an apology:

The family including Mr Barron’s widow, Nora, their children and other members, have served legal papers. They are claiming negligence and dereliction of duty by the Minister for Justice, the Garda Commissioner, the Attorney General and the State, in failing to ensure a proper investigation into Mr Barron’s death in 1996 in Raphoe, Co Donegal.

They will seek compensation for trauma and suffering caused to them by grief and anxiety since he died.

“It is not about the money,” Mr Dorrian [Solicitor] added. “It is about the appalling treatment meted out to that family. Nobody paid the slightest attention or interest. They have been sidelined and their dignity has been eroded. They are entitled to the same consideration as any other family concerned in this horrible mess.”

About this weblog

This weblog is an attempt to organise and filter the volume of corruption allegations and reports coming out of Ireland. It is written currently by two people, Anthony and Gavin. If people are interested in this topic, I invite them to email either myself or Anthony with their views. You may be invited to participate in this weblog on a regular basis.

If you have your own story of corruption, or something you feel might be of interest to concerned citizens then please feel free to mail me in fullest confidence to: