Policing: Something Rotten

In 1984 a baby was found dead on a beach at Caherciveen. He was murdered: stabbed 28 times. At that time Gardaí arrested a young woman and got a confession from her for the young baby’s death. It was later proven that the Gardaí forced the confession from this innocent young woman and that they acted despicably to her and her family. An enquiry was held by the state which was a farce to say the least. The Judge leading the enquiry was as misogynistic as the Gardaí.

In December 2020 a young black man with mental health problems was shot dead by armed Gardaí in Dublin after he attacked a shop worker and refused to drop a knife in a subsequent stand-off with Gardaí outside his house. There are constant reports of racial profiling by the Gardaí and recently the Taoiseach has admitted that this does go on. Young people of colour are constantly stopped and searched just because they are people of colour. Who can remember what happened to John Carty, brutally murdered by the Gardaí in Abbeylara, Co. Longford back in May 2000, whose body was then illegally removed before the state pathologist could examine it?

According to a recent report, relentless racism and discrimination is the primary cause of suicide among Travellers. The rate of suicide in the Traveller community is six times higher than the general population. More than two thirds of Travellers have lost a loved one to suicide and almost 90 per cent are worried about suicide in their community, says the report which focuses on the rapidly growing Traveller community of south County Dublin. Conducted by independent consultants S3 Solutions, which specialises in community and voluntary sector research, the study was commissioned by the Clondalkin Travellers’ Development Group, Tallaght Travellers’ Development Group and Ballyfermot Traveller Action Project. Gardaí have for decades targeted the Traveller community, in order to pump up their crime-detection figures.

The Gardaí have not changed their attitude in over four decades; their management training hasn’t changed. At their training centre in Templemore, new recruits are given less than an hour of training in dealing with Mental Health, yet we have as a state allowed these so-called professionals to tackle crime in what is a vastly different country than the 1980s, when they put Johanna Hayes through mental torture through their sheer ignorance and misogyny. This writer knows many Gardaí who are good decent people and full of empathy . Unfortunately, it is run in a management style that is possibly the worst in Europe. Its head of Police was trained by the British State who have a notorious record on policing and systemic corruption. He should go immediately, and a structure of policing put in place with the community as its core focus.

It is time to stop the rot within the Gardaí, stop the corruption in the Gardaí and, most importantly, bring about a situation whereby people can have confidence in a community police force.