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Barr report highlights need for single Garda Ombudsman - Ó Snodaigh

20 July, 2006


Sinn Féin Justice and Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said the long delay in the publication of the report from the Barr Tribunal highlights the need for a fully independent complaints procedure under a single Garda Ombudsman. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the two Government's that have been in power since the killing John Carthy in 2000 have both failed to adequately deal with the fundamental problem that is the lack of accountability within the Gardaí and the need for root and branch Garda reform.

Speaking after the release of the report from the Barr Tribunal this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "It was abundantly clear to anyone who has followed this case that negligence on the part of the Gardaí was the crucial factor in the death of John Carthy. I welcome Justice Minister Michael McDowell's apology on behalf of the state to the Carthy family however he must face up to and deal with the serious faults within the Gardaí that lead to John Carthy's death.

"While I welcome some of the recommendations in the report from the Barr Tribunal the long delay in receiving this report highlights the need a fully independent complaints procedure under a single Garda Ombudsman with powers at least equivalent to those of Nuala O'Loan's office covering the Six Counties. Here we have a case where a mentally ill man was killed unnecessarily and it has taken two years to establish a tribunal and a further four years to receive its report and recommendations.

"The recommendation from Justice Barr, that Gardaí be equipped with non lethal weapons can only be welcomed when the specifications of non lethal weapons is published. They must be exactly that -- non lethal. The weapons that Minister McDowell gave the go ahead for use of three years ago can only be described as less lethal at best and therefore cannot fall into the category of non lethal weapons and should not be used. I would repeat the call I made at the time for the Minister to publish the guidelines for the deployment of less lethal weapons such as bean bag shot and pepper spray projectors as he has so far failed to do so.

"The overriding themes coming from this report are of negligence and failure on the part of the Gardaí but the ultimate responsibility must lie with the two Governments who have been in power since the killing of John Carthy. They have both failed to adequately deal with the fundamental problem that is the lack of accountability within the Gardaí and the need for root and branch Garda reform." ENDS

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