[Sinn Fein]

14th February 2002

Gardaí must be made accountable

Sinn Fein's Dublin South Central representative, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has today called for a 'thorough and independent' investigation in to the very serious allegations being levelled at the Gardaí. He has also called for the immediate setting up of an 'independent complaints procedure and the appointment of an Ombudsman with real powers".

Speaking after today's revelations that crime detections have been falsified Mr Ó Snodaigh said: "Today's revelations coming as they do hot on the heels of the McBrearty case, the Abbeylara Inquiry and the Advance Tyres saga have raised serious concerns about the conduct and behaviour of the Gardaí. Something that seems to go all the way to the top. All of these issues have one thing in common, they have highlighted the inability of the Gardaí to deal with problems within their own ranks. Indeed the Garda Commissioner, Pat Byrne, himself seems impervious to any criticism levelled at his force.

"It is time that there was an independent complaints body set up. There needs to be a public inquiry into the conduct of the Garda Síochána and into the leadership provided by Pat Byrne. Such is the scope and seriousness of the issues raised that they challenge not only the conduct and management of the gardai in different parts of the country but also at a State level. Questions also need to be asked of the role of the Department and Minister of Justice in all of this.

"Sinn Fein supports fundamental reform including a totally independent complaints procedure, the appointment of an ombudsman with real powers and the repeal of the Offences Against the State Act." ENDS

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