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Whistle-blowers system must be accompanied by proper resources for Ombudsman Commission – Ó Snodaigh

11 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described as a travesty of justice the fact that Gardaí were not prosecuted for their parts in the framing and wrongful imprisonment of Donegal publican Frank Shortt despite the courts finding that a wilful miscarriage of justice had been inflicted.

Responding to reports that Justice Minister Brian Lenihan is set to announce the establishment of a whistle-blower mechanism to root out corruption within the Gardaí Deputy Ó Snodaigh welcomed the move but said it can only prove successful if the Garda Ombudsman Commission is properly resourced to undertake the resulting investigative work.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The whistle-blower mechanism is much needed, I welcome its establishment and the fact that it will forward confidential reports made to it on to the Garda Ombudsman Commission. But if it is to have a real positive impact then the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the body which should investigate such complaints in addition to complaints from members of the public, must be properly resourced to undertake the resulting investigative work.

"The Ombudsman Commission is currently failing to deliver an independent and efficient complaints system in which the public can have confidence because it is over-burdened and under-resourced.

"It is also essential that the public see follow-up action in the form of strong disciplinary and punitive measures once Garda corruption or malpractice has been exposed whether by a whistle-blower or a member of the public.

"It is a travesty of justice that former Gardaí Kevin Lennon and Noel McMahon, amongst others, were not prosecuted for their parts in the framing and wrongful imprisonment of Donegal publican Frank Shortt despite the courts finding that a wilful miscarriage of justice had been inflicted.

"Members of the public must be very uneasy after watching 'Operation Spider' on RTÉ last night. The failure to issue prosecutions against the corrupt Gardaí involved begs the question why does the state not put these men on trial? What further corruption and corrupt figures does it fear will be exposed?

"The Minister must take robust action to address these concerns and to rebuild public trust and confidence in the force. Announcements must be accompanied by enabling resources." ENDS

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