Garda Patrol March 28, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
There’s times when events, even in the target rich environment that characterises the contemporary political and economic period, can still take one by surprise. For example, given all the other news last week it took a while for the importance of the breath tests claims to sink in.
I read in disbelief when Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was to be asked belatedly about the one million drink-driving breath tests recorded ‘in error’, that is, which didn’t occur or ‘how 14,700 wrongful convictions were secured’ since 2016. And as to those who say she ‘inherited’ these problems, that’s tosh. She was the Assistant Commissioner when some happened and was notified of exaggerated detection rates in 2014 when she succeeded Callinan. Only now when the story is broken is a so-called audit being carried out. This is the same person who is bad news on-going and who previously declined to stand aside when the activities of her office are being investigated.
Fair dues to Sinn Féin for mounting the pressure, but even a quitting O’Sullivan ain’t going to cut it, given the repulsive organisational culture, don’t you think?
Pat Leahy in the IT, hardly a radical, himself sounds astounded by the following:
There has been a litany of calls for the commissioner to stand aside after revelations that 14,700 people were wrongly convicted of motoring offences and breathalyser tests were exaggerated by one million.
The scale of that exaggeration, the numbers of wrongly convicted, surely goes beyond any reasonable definitions of norms, or accidents. As Mary Lou McDonald noted, the situation is farcical, and more so when the Garda Commissioner argues publicly that ‘no deliberate distortion of facts or falsification of figures has yet been established’.
The extent of the false reporting of alcohol breathalyser tests – some 937,212 on the Garda Pulse system from 2011 to 2016 – suggests that the problem may have infected every Garda division.
It sure does.
A primary interface between Garda and citizens is shown demonstrably to be “distorted” and worse. That it is an interface that is absolutely vital to broader safety on the roads makes this particularly bitter. Those tests are needed but also need to be seen to be implemented correctly.
One can almost feel sympathetic to the Commissioner’s plight – she arrived in the role due to another set of events entirely. But one would have thought that at the least – given the prominence of breathalyser tests on politicians and the small fact of anonymous tip-offs (mentioned in the Carswell piece) – a glitch list of potential and actual problems would have been compiled and made public in order to forestall precisely what we see today. That it wasn’t suggests that for all the talk of ‘very deep, very real cultural reform’ the reality is business as usual.
Alibaba’s point re resignation not cutting it is spot on. I’ve read that some advocate much the same approaches as the PSNI in terms of accountability and oversight. Perhaps those closer to those processes could give a view?