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Garda Patrol March 28, 2017

Posted 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.

Alibaba in comments sums this up here…

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’.

That’s not how everyone else sees it. Simon Carswell also in the IT, argues:

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?


1. dublinstreams - March 28, 2017

Why sympathy for the Commissioner’s plight, she has Assistant commissioner since 2007 http://www.garda.ie/Management/Default.aspx


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

Almost feel sympathetic. I didn’t say one had to.


dublinstreams - March 28, 2017

Wh yraise the notion of sympathy at all she didn’t arrive in the role by chance out of nowhere, the Green party put out a press release which complained that the “Commissioner O’Sullivan diverted the question to a junior officer” https://greenparty.ie/news/greens-lack-of-transparency-on-breath-test-statistics-breached-gardas-own-new-ethics-code/ that junior officer the greens are refferring to is Deputy Commissioner Policing & Security. there nothing junior about him such a mistake to focus on person or one rank, shes been in position to change practices since atleast 2003.


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

It’s a rhetorical device DS to indicate that she’s deserving of no sympathy at all.

Liked by 1 person

dublinstreams - March 28, 2017

“she arrived in the role due to another set of events entirely.” but even in her previous role she would have been just as responsible. She would have been the officer the Commissioer would have diverted questions to.


WorldbyStorm - March 29, 2017

For the last time. The point I was making was that she had responsibility, that when she assumed her current role she did not appear to do the most basic checks (or did but apparently did not act on them) and that while one might almost feel human sympathy it would be misplaced. I cannot seriously see how you can take issue with that unless you are deliberately attempting to misunderstand or mischaracterise what I’m saying. And you wouldn’t be trying to do that, would you?


2. roddy - March 28, 2017

Much as it pains me to admit it,the PSNI would never get away with any of this shite.Such is the level of scrutiny,colleagues of wrongdoers “calve” at the first opportunity and refuse to cover up as they know they will be found out and exposed .


sonofstan - March 28, 2017

Neither would any police force here in Britain. I may have mentioned this, but i met an ex- cop here recently, from Slough, both parents from Cork. I mentioned the travails of AGS and he stopped me – he knew all about it and it pained him deeply. The cops here have had to learn some painful lessons, as with the PSNI, but at least they’ve learned them.

Liked by 1 person

3. RosencrantzisDead - March 28, 2017

The breath-testing matter was new to me. But I had heard stuff about there being some funny business with how warrants are processed. I wonder if anyone will look into that.


WorldbyStorm - March 28, 2017

That sounds bad. To put it mildly.


4. Alibaba - March 29, 2017

I’d like to borrow a phrase used by Catherine Connolly TD when she described the Garda Commissioner as showing “utter contempt to the Dáil”. This was done by her actions and inactions when bad practices were brought to notice. How did some of this happen? The Garda Medical Bureau notified that the breath test figures didn’t add up. It would seem that the body which supervises this, the Policing Authority, didn’t even get sight of the internal audit and it remains uncompleted even now. In other cases Nóirín O’Sullivan went from one scandal to another, not forgetting the whistleblowers. Worse still, she made it known that she would not “step aside” during this controversial investigation and more recently that a motion of no confidence will make no difference to her.

Yesterday the somewhat uncertain Tanaiste stated she didn’t know the scale of the crisis until “last week”. She also implied that possible consequences of wrongly made convictions could prove problematic. You bet.  Cue her call: “we should establish an independent Patten-like commission to analyse precisely the future of An Garda Siochána”. You might think this is a good thing. But no. I think it is kicking the can down the road or dumping it into a data review instead.

‘Independents-4-Change TD Clare Daly says people need to be held accountable for the Garda crisis rather than a root and branch review.

“I mean a review is actually the last thing we need because there’s been so many reviews, so many excellent analyses and investigations done already.

“We need the implementation of some of those recommendations …”‘

It will be interesting to discover what other Left duputies or public representatives propose as well.


5. Alibaba - March 29, 2017

The latest, I think:

‘The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has strongly defended the Garda Commissioner in the face of continuing opposition calls for her to step down.

Frances Fitzgerald says an independent external investigation must find out if the controversies surrounding breath tests and speeding convictions were the result of carelessness or collusion.’



Alibaba - March 29, 2017

Mick Wallace is dishing it out and nailing the notion that O’Sullivan has to go. I can’t quote directly but it goes like this:

If a football manager loses 10 matches in a row and the Chairperson expresses full confidence in him, it’s the kiss of death.


6. irishelectionliterature - March 29, 2017

Isn’t part of the problem that the Commissioner goes and then the next person is appointed and unless they are from outside then the new person will have been in a senior position when all these scandals have been happening.

Liked by 1 person

7. irishelectionliterature - March 30, 2017

Watched some of the Garda Top Brass at the Justice Committee, dreadful stuff. This clip here is a good example.


WorldbyStorm - March 30, 2017

Wow, just looking at that now. Fair dues to Daly, it makes it so much more useful she has that experience of the area and can speak about it.


irishelectionliterature - March 30, 2017

The whole Garda thing just gets wider and wider. Is there any of their systems that actually work? Is it wilful or just incompetence or a combination of both?
Lets get them all out in the open, then the Commisioner and her cronies ( I’m told a lot of recent appointments at the top would be associates of hers) can resign or leave.
We then need to get a new senior Garda structure with new personnel in place.


irishelectionliterature - March 30, 2017

Also did you know that for Garda to make an entry into the Pulse system….. They ring an office in the Midlands and the message is then entered into the system by someone there.


8. roddy - March 30, 2017

Mick Wallace just said on Prime Time that with regard to policing “even FG now know they have made a balls of it”!. A trend has been established recently with politicians speaking refreshingly in blunt terms.Michele Gildernew replied to a reporter “aw Jaysus it’s brilliant” ( SF’s election result) and also said Michele O,Neill “would take no shite”! Yesterday Adams told RTE that Tory Owen Patterson was ” a tube”! Is’nt it great to hear elected reps speaking like the people who elected them.!

Liked by 3 people

9. GW - March 31, 2017

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