Mad Mullah in a BlueShirt

Posted By: June 14, 2005

“The gardai has utterly disgraced itself.

So has Michael McDowell. “
A few bad apples? More like rotten to the core
(Susan McKay, Irish News)
Irish News. Tuesday, June 7, 2005

“The spirit wearies at the lies, obfuscations, concealments and conspiracies to destroy the truth that would be apparent to any reasonable person who sat through more than a few days of our hearings.”

This was what Mr Justice Frederick Morris said about the Garda Siochana during his investigation into how two innocent men from Donegal were framed in 1996 for a murder which never happened.

The second Morris Tribunal Report was published last week. The first one, into how gardai, among other things, invented an IRA informer and made fake bombs, was published a year ago. Morris called then for radical reform of the gardai.

This second report is even more damning. When gardai didn’t have to cooperate with him, they didn’t. When they did have to, “lies replaced silence”. “Astonishing” lies. The Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy, astonishingly told the tribunal the investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron had been run in “an efficient and thorough manner”. Morris found it was “utterly negligent”.

Last week, Michael McDowell, the Republic’s loudmouth minister for justice, would have been glad of the right to silence. When he was attorney general McDowell opposed the setting up of the Morris Tribunal. After the first report, he did nothing. Forced to respond to last week’s shocking report, he murmured something about ‘a few bad apples’. “We have the same Garda force yesterday that we have today and we will have tomorrow,” he said.

This is hardly reassuring. The Garda force of yesterday was responsible 30 years ago for having six men convicted of a train robbery on the basis of statements they didn’t make and of claiming that the substantial injuries they sustained in custody were self-inflicted. The activities of the ‘Heavy Gang’ were investigated by retired judge, Barra O’Briain. None of his recommendations have been implemented.

The gardai got Joanne Hayes and her family to confess in 1984 that she was the mother of a murdered baby washed up on a Kerry beach. Hayes had given birth, in shame and secrecy, to another baby, which had died. When it emerged