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Morris Debate

6.17.2005

Well the dail finally got the government to stand still for long enough to throw some mud at them over the Morris report, it makes for some entertaining stuff. Since the report I have long whinged about the lack of genuine parliamentary process for taking account of the report. Well today McDowell showed up in his Teflon suit and attempted to blame everybody else. Its a nonsense again from a man with little or no feeling of responsibility for his office.
There are serious and genuine concerns to be addressed in both the political and institutional aspects of our Justice and police bodies. This debate saw McDowell move from tarring the opposition to their faces on to attacking the gardai as a dark and mean organisation.
If he knew this for so long (i.e. the two years the gardai spent covering up the internal Carty report) why didn't he go public? Why didn't he take a case to government for reform along the lines of Patton?
WHen he got to office, why did he not act to curb the worst excesses present in the Gardai? Why above all did he not support he Mcbrearty and Barron families throughout the whole procedure when from 2002 he knew they were victims of a likely cover up?
I think its because the Gardai in this state are the tail that wags the dog. There is a serious culture of impunity (as Martin Ferris pointed out in the Dail) present in many of the garda branches statewide. The whole body politic has a deep distrust of the Gardai and sees them as the worst embodiment of abuse of state power. They can abuse this power because minister after minister has singularly failed to stand up to them.
Having spoken to an ex-guard or two i am aware of the practices employed to keep some of the politicians quiet and maintain the status quo. i cannot go into detail but always remember from which force ministerial minders and drivers are drawn and how much they might see or hear.
This is the most serious justification for the belief that we are living in a police state, and to a degree we are. It is more seriously that the police are free to act as they wish. We cannot allow this to continue, when elements of the state are free to abuse the trust and power placed in them we must reclaim their authority and reign in their worst tendencies.
Having said all that one cannot but agree that we have a system that is inherently human and never going to attain perfection. This is proof of the fact that democracy is never a fait acompli and must be constantly revised, revisited and renewed.
This is another in a long list of factor that must be addressed should we ever move our democracy and society forward toward fairness equality and honesty.
the culture of accountability and of responsibility for action is a peculiarly Christian/moral value, however it has been accepted almost universally that one accounts for what one does/doesn't do. This is a simple tenet of life that rarely applies to government in Ireland. There is a genuine need i feel to begin a process of rebuilding our democracy before it decays irreparably.
Red Rover

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