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Highlighting Police Corruption
crime and justice |
Monday October 24, 2005 01:15 by MMcD
With the pressure on the Minister for Injustice McDowell and the Government to tackle the Garda corruption being constantly exposed, an opportunity exists for all those affected by police harassment to push for a genuine independent complaints body. Both political activists and ordinary people, working to expose Garda brutality can have an effect.
Highlighting Police Corruption
We can see from the news that the Minister for Justice (?) McDowell has finally set up what he calls an “Independent Garda Ombudsman Commission”, that both he and the Government are under pressure to address the growing number of examples of Garda corruption being exposed lately. The McBrearty’s, the Frank Shortt’s case, the Rossiter case etc…. are all piling on the pressure for a genuine independent complaints body similar to Nuala O’Lone’s office in the 6 Counties. McDowell and the Government are hoping that this new commission will provide a smokescreen to hide the fact that nothing is really being done to tackle Garda corruption.
The first disappointment about the new body was that, contrary to it’s independent title, it was actually handpicked by the Government. The three appointees, Justice Kevin Haugh, Carmel Foley and Conor Brady, all have close ties to the legal establishment. Foley and Brady have family members who were Guards while Haugh is a senior judge. The Commission doesn’t have retrospective powers of investigation and there are other limitations in comparison to O’Lone’s powers. This opportunity to serious tackle the culture of corruption within the Gardai appears to have been lost.
Frank McBrearty is currently trying to set up an anti corruption campaign to highlight the injustices people have suffered at the hands of the Garda or the legal profession. He has organised a public meeting in the Mansion House in November which should get some media attention on this subject. Unfortunately Frank and the people surrounding him probably don’t have the ability to create something permanent but the opportunity afforded by the publicity surrounding the Mansion House meeting should be used by people trying to focus attention on Garda abuse of their powers.
The family of twenty year old Terence Wheelock are campaigning for an independent public inquiry into the death of Terence after a beating in Garda custody. The family have organised a vigil outside Store Street Garda station on Saturday 29th October. Terence was left in a coma after being arrested and held in custody in Store Street. He died 3 months later. There are a huge amount of unanswered questions about the time he spent in custody. It’s worth reading the report in the Village magazine –
The above two events give people genuinely interested in making the Garda accountable an opportunity to get involved in doing something positive about Garda corruption. It is a good opportunity for those who where involved in the Reclaim the Streets demo which was attacked by the Gardai on May Day 2002 to link in with a community campaign highlighting police brutality. Last Tuesday police attacked people protesting against the mass deportation of immigrants. Saturday’s vigil provides a focus for all victims of police harassment. If all those affected by police abuse unite, political people and ordinary people, the pressure already on McDowell and the Government, can be intensified.
Support the Wheelock family, meet at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Sean Mc Dermott Street at 2pm. March to Store Street Garda station.