Now here's a nice conundrum for Justice Minister McDowell. He has spent a great deal of time lambasting Gerry Adams about the criminal activities carried out by elements in his organisation. Pompous phrases like "no place in a democratic society" have rung out regularly.
Now the Morris Tribunal Report has presented with evidence that extensive criminal activities have clearly taken place in an organisation for which he is responsible. What's he going to do about it?
It's very clear that this isn't just about a few rogue gardai in Donegal. What this exposes is a fundementally corrupt and totally mismanaged organisation that clearly considers itself above the law. Its arrogance, dishonesty and rejection of accountability have led to a widespread distrust. Events such as Abbeylara, the Blue 'Flu, and the Dean Lyons debacle are just further confirmation of an institution that has gone bad on us.
I have found them totally uninterested in any complaints I have made to them. On one occasion I went into to my local station to report a serious assault and was told that they would call me back later to make a formal statement. I never heard from them again.
On another occasion, when in my teens, I was hauled into the garda station in Cobh and accused of obstructing traffic with a gang of my friends. When I protested my innocence and demanded a phone to contact my father, I was assaulted by a large red-haired garda who seemed to lose control completely and had to be restrained by his colleagues.
You get the feeling that a lot of them see it as a cosy club and the public are just a bloody nuisance - interfering with their sporting activities and the management of their property portfolios. The ethos is that of the rural uneducated Paddy: The pint, the craic, the football. There is a strong anti-intellectual bias. You need 5 passes in the Leaving Cert. to get in. I have a labrador who could do better.