CORRUPTION IN THE GARDAI
Our national security force was in the firing line once again this year when the news broke that it had colluded in a campaign of vilification against an unflinching whistleblower, Maurice McCabe, who committed the heinous act of trying to expose corruption. If previous scandals in the Gardai had caused outrage, this one – where leading members desperately tried to shift the blame from themselves after it had already landed firmly on their door – caused pure despair.
You’d have laughed whenever Noirin O’Sullivan stepped down from her role as Garda Commissioner in September because of “unending cycle of investigations and inquiries” (aren’t investigations part and parcel with the job of being an officer of law?), except for the fact that you seriously felt like crying. As scandalous as things were back in 2014 – whenever allegations of corruption really erupted in the media – the revelations of further attempted cover-ups were enough to make your head spin.
Now Enda Kenny’s gone, Noirin O’Sullivan’s gone, and the Disclosures Tribunal is pitting higher-ups against each other as ministers try desperately to clear their names and lay the blame. But will any of it result in serious, structural change within the Gardai? Don’t put your money on it.
And what a shame for the hardworking, fair-minded officers in the Gardai. 2017 will be remembered as the year when their bosses tore up the last shred of credibility and made the whole damn thing seem farcical. By the time the top brass finally get round to shutting the barn door on all these scandals, the horse will have bolted way down the nearest country road (and still some chancer will be trying to give it penalty points).