The Freedom Institute weigh in on Morris
En masse the FI bloggers are cautioning us all to restraint in dealing with this situation. It may perhaps be guessed at as to what they might see as being hasty. From Bastiat:
"Commentators have called for a Garda ombudsman to be created immediately. We in the FI would endorse those calls, but would caution against any knee-jerk reaction to this issue. I believe that we need to look at what other countries have done in this area, so that Ireland has a system that is what is considered to be international best practice."
And in comments, Richard Waghorne says:
"No, I'd be very slow indeed to draw that conclusion. Numerically, they are a small fraction of a percentage of gardai as a whole. Taking all corruption cases together, that remains the case. Irish gardai have traditionally scored very well in international comparisons on public confidence and probity."
I will agree without hesitation with Richard that the Gardaí compare favourably with any other police force in the world (on many levels). However, this is not per se about the "few bad apples" in Donegal, much as the GRA and the Garda HQ mouth-pieces in the media would have us believe.
Rather, the point of setting up the Ombudsman is to counter the culture of unaccountability which has taken hold in the Gardaí - extending to the highest levels of the force - as evidenced by the scandals of recent years. We already have some indication that the worst has yet to come out in the Morris Tribunal (and that's just the public part, never mind the secret sections).
The GRA and Garda HQ will no doubt kick and scream, and we will be told how the Ombudsman must become a panel (the opportunities for hobbling the office in this scenario are obvious). But we must do something meaningfulj to restore public confidence in the force, not just the usual re-arranging of the deck-chairs.
The cost to our society of allowing the Gardaí to undermine their own authority is too high.