So here we go.
This could be the one that causes big, proper trouble. Let’s have a chat about France Fitzgerald, FF/FG, the Gardaí and our Cuban missile crisis-esque brush with a general election before Christmas.
Before I get into it, do please have a scan of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garda_whistleblower_scandal#Maurice_McCabe . While Wikipedia is not the gospel, a lot of information is at the above link and can be used to draw your own conclusion.
Moving on to my thoughts on the topic, this may end up as a rant, but let’s see. Firstly the higher ups in An Garda Siochana set about smearing one of their own who was trying to investigate bad practice. That was working, the method of character assassination was known at the highest corridors of government and noon flinched, no one batted an eye lid. McCabe was labelled a whistle blower (somehow a negative term) and a child abuser. This was spread around the media with ease. Just imagine sitting wherever you are and having everyone believe you are something you are not, based on who was giving out the information. And the even bigger issue, if he didn’t record a conversation about it then we would be calling him a whistle blowing child abuser today.
It is so horrific that I was hoping it could not be real. We are supposed to be an evolved species, but instead, we have the Garda and govt eating each other for power. They are cannibalising themselves for greater gain.
Multiple tribunals where set up to get to the bottom of this. To find out how the smearing happened, who did it and why. This was just a front, a talking shop. The newest minister for justice, Frances Fitzgerald, who had set up the most recent investigation, was sitting on numerous emails that would show that she (and govt) knew about the tactics being used against whistle-blowers. She mismanaged every single aspect of this. Instead of officially taking notes that emails where received, legal advice sought and all copied and sent to an Taoiseach, she put her hands over her eyes and hoped it would go away.
She was climbing up to that high diving board with every passing day. When the moment came for the last lie to be told, would she jump into the pool and float, or would she sink. The pressure mounted and she sank, handing in her resignation and leaving office with a pension and a holiday. Spotless record after her massive incompetence.
If we turn this towards real life, if I did the same thing in my job. That being sit on important information and not pass it on, or make an official note that it had been received the first time, then I would be fired. Straight away, no question. This kind of behaviour appears to be rewarded in government. The Taoiseach himself wanted to keep Fitzgerald in situ while an investigation took place, even though a previous investigation had shown that she had multiple communications about the campaigm to smear McCabe. She didn’t deserve a stay of job execution.
But the facts are that our government has shown itself to be more concerned with remaining in power that justice and transparency. Shane Ross wanted a political conclusion made for fear of losing his job, a politician move if ever I saw one. Like opening a Garda station in your own back yard. The board of an Garda Siochana were more concerned with continuing a bad practice to make penalty point numbers look good, than investigate the issue. They were willing to throw their own under the bus, with the backing of government. Imagine being a Garda now. 99.9999% of them are great people who do a tough job. A job very few of us civilians could do. They don’t know if they will be next, if they should go forward in trying to improve how things are done. There are committees and boards to keep them safe, but we know how they all work.
Lastly, and probably the most frightening. How many times has this practice of smearing been done in the past, if the Government are willing to do this to a Garda, imagine what they would do to us! These questions will not be answered; we will be distracted by threats of elections, other scandals and a political system who are so similar that they could be family.
A burglar is very rarely caught the first time he tries to rob a house.
As usual, @nkeegan for instant debate. Do please share this with any government minister; I would love to talk to them or any radio station on the topic.