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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).

 ??  ?? Maurice McCabe
Maurice McCabe

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