Garda Management failed repeatedly to accept reality of homicide misclassification – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has responded to evidence given by Garda Analysis service staff Lois West & Laura Galligan at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice & Equality.
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“The testimony given by Lois West and Laura Galligan, two civilian members of An Garda Síochána, was quite shocking, and worrying.
“It appears that there was a repeated failure to treat the reports their reports with anything like the urgency required.
“These women have shown great courage and resilience in the context of great pressure, stating that they felt ‘belittled and treated very poorly’.
“They also said that there was ‘an apparent reluctance to countenance’ the issues raised by Ms Galligan and Ms West. They felt they had their integrity attacked internally and significant pressure was brought to bear.
“The attempts by the Gardaí to minimise this issue and failure to act is in the context of the most serious crime, the taking a life, is extraordinary and shocking.
“This not only relates to the past, but also on an ongoing basis. There were 14 deaths which were pathologically considered a homicide, but were misclassified in the wrong crime, or a non-crime, category, from the 2013-15 period.
“However, this is also on an ongoing basis, and indeed an increasing level of such cases into 2017, including unrecorded homicides.
“It appears that An Garda Síochána attempted to minimise the issue and insisted publicly that any issues were minor and until recently, there was no misclassification.
“It also appears as that there was an attempt to pressure the Data Analysis staff to agree to reports that they were ‘unable to sign off on, and to agree to the position of sworn members’.
“It is also the case that the explanation as to why a report was presented to the Policing Authority in April 2017, as being from the Garda Síochána, including the analysis service, is not credible; given Ms West and Ms Galligan had clearly flagged enormous concerns. In fact, it appears as though these concerns were deliberately disregarded, in an attempt to railroad this issue through the policing authority, to misrepresent the situation and to draw a line under it.
“It was also clear that they felt let down by the Policing Authority, which is deeply disappointing and a cause for considerable concern.
“Every death should be classified properly, and this isn’t just about statistics, this is about victims and families.
“We must ensure that all of these cases are properly investigated and it is essential now this review is completed with the adequate priority and importance and we get the full truth.”