The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission – Paint Job

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Hypocrisy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ombudsman Painter Decorators

For years I have been referring to the Garda Ombudsman as a “paint job.” I have done so out of my extensive experience of them, with regard to the various individuals, activists and organisations I have worked with. I have seen complaints accompanied by incontrovertible evidence of garda criminality result in garda vindication and vilification for those who dared to complain.

The Garda Ombudsman was set up to allegedly replace the Garda Complaints Board. The gardaí investigating the gardaí was seen to be a process that facilitated the widespread abuse of power and criminality by members of An Garda Síochána. The new body was spun in the media as being an organisation that would employ the best of experts from all over the planet to rein in the endemic corruption of the gardaí. And spin is all that it was. It has been my experience that the Ombudsman only examines the admissibility of complaints. The actual investigative work is handed back to the Garda Síochána as is facilitated by the Garda Síochána Act. In other words, the gardaí are still investigated by the gardaí. The only real difference is the addition of a massively expensive buffer between complaints and alleged investigations. I won’t be going into the function of the DPP in all of this. But I must say that I’m tempted to!

On June 9th of this year the Irish Times published a piece based on the statistics for 2010, concerning the operation of the Garda Ombudsman.

I’m not too concerned with most of the figures produced as they give no inclination whatsoever as to whether the Garda Ombudsman is functional.

I’m interested in two things from this report. The first being that in 2010 there were some 2,258 complaints – containing 4,031 specific allegations. The second being that “The commission said that after operating for almost four years, it had not detected any trends indicating racism in the Garda. Last year 85 per cent of all complaints received were from Irish people.

I’ll deal with the second point first as the other point will form part of the backdrop of this whole piece.

According to the Irish Examiner on January the 11th 2010, the EU in a report had said that “Sub-Saharan Africans are twice as likely to be subjected to police stops than other members of the public.” In fact the stop rate for these minorities was the highest in the EU, with Greek police stopping members of the Roma coming second.

In March of this year the High Court removed Section 12 of the Immigration Act. This allowed the gardaí to stop non-nationals and demand that they produce their passports or similar documentation, without any reasonable suspicion that the person concerned had committed an offence. The gardaí were using and abusing this power. I’m personally aware of lots of instances of this and have been involved in a number of cases where the gardaí failed to secure a single conviction.

To suggest that the Ombudsman had not detected a trend indicating racism shows a lack of investigative ability and literacy rather than showing a lack of racism.

Now back to those figures. 2,258 complaints for 2010. Those figures, we’re told, are broadly in line with the figures of 2009. The Ombudsman has been open for business a little over four years. Let’s say the Ombudsman receives 2,200 complaints per year. Over four years this is 8,800.

In November of 2009 our glorious leader, Enda Kenny, asked a parliamentary question about the budget for the Garda Ombudsman. He was told that the budget for 2008 had been €9.845 million. He was told that the budget for 2009 would be €11.058 million.

I’m going to take the average budget to be approximately €10 million per year. In other words, the Garda Ombudsman has spent €40 million to remove the scum from An Garda Síochána.

In May of this year I had a parliamentary question asked by Joan Collins (Many thanks Joan). I wasn’t interested in how the Ombudsman “disposed” of complaints. I reckoned they used a bin. I wanted to know how many convictions had been secured, due to their efforts, that hadn’t been overturned by appeal. And I wanted to know the rank of the most senior garda convicted. Getting my answer took a bit longer than the three days it’s supposed to take. The reply came on the 30th of August.

Here’s the answer:

Since commencement of its operations in May 2007, seven members of An Garda Síochána have been found guilty of offences by the Courts arising from investigations by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Of these, two members had their verdicts reduced to a sanction under the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 (as amended).

In a further case, in the District Court, the judge found that while the Garda in question had assaulted a complainant it was a minor assault at the lower end of the scale and he decided that he would deal with it other than by imposing a conviction and so struck out the summons.

All of these eight members were of Garda rank.

So there you have it. There have been 5 convictions since the Garda Ombudsman opened for business. The two that were given the Probation Act were not convicted, that is the point of the Act.

8,800 complaints and 5 convictions. 1 conviction per 1,760 complaints. €40,000,000 for 5 convictions. €8,000,000 per conviction.

The Garda Ombudsman is the most expensive paint job in Irish history. With the possibility of securing a conviction based on any single complaint being less than 0.057% it is quite obvious that one is better off not making the complaint in the first instance.

For ordinary citizens the message is quite clear. Avoid the Ombudsman. I could suggest that the Ombudsman exists specifically to ensure that the gardaí do not suffer for their widespread criminality. But that’s irrelevant, the intent that is. The fact is that they do not suffer for their widespread criminality.

For activists, the picture is even bleaker. The fact that the ombudsman does not function is used to tarnish the names and credibility of activists. And it would be my advice that activists and groups initiate a policy of not utilising the Ombudsman to begin with. It’s a waste of time and we can do without the State and other cancerous groups and individuals using this paint job to marginalise and disenfranchise us.

  1. theraggedwagon says:

    Only 5 convictions from 8,800 complaints! When you bear in mind many people’s reluctance to make a complaint the figure is even bleaker.

    • Hi,

      Take off your prejudiced blinkers and you will see what all law-abiding persons already know:

      The “8,800” complaints made to the Garda Ombudsman are overwhelmingly vexatious, frivolous or downright baseless!

      Or would that truth do away with the necessity for the likes of ‘activists’ and take away their soapbox??

      Or does the truth matter to you?

      It is high time for you to put up the evidence for your scurrilous allegations against the Irish National Police Force – or shut up.

      Time has passed you by; Irish people overwhelmingly support the Garda Siochana – and since the murder gangs re-invented themselves as constitutional politicians who stoutly support the PSNI. seems to me you are pissing against the wind.

      No one wants to hear the ould shite about ‘700 years of oppression’ any more. Decent people prefer to acknowledge the generosity of the British who kept this country alive by feeding our poor and hungry masses when this great Republic had no arse to its trousers – just as it has none now!!

      Better for you to try and locate the victims of the murder-gangs who were denied a decent burial – no roadside monuments for the disappeared – well no yet; but there will be- and they will be honoured.

      Cop yourself on and join Adams and McGuinness, and other late developers.

      And does an Anarchist turn down his dole payments? Does he fu*k

      • Kieran Lynch GVA says:

        Me Thinks we have a member of the boys in blue here. Did any of the cops that had to retire because of the Tribunals turn down his pension did he fu*k.

      • acab-ireland says:

        spoken like a trie pig

    • eugene says:

      Paddy is incapable of governance in all public sectors-as proven by the state of the country and the ruination of the economy.This is an undeniable fact.The gardai are devoid of the slightest degrees of honesty to tell the truth in the witness-box and favour perjury to protect the regime.
      The consequences for the hapless victim are compounded further by the instinctiveness of our politically elected judiciary to imprison the most vulnerable people in society-based on perjury.
      With no recourse due to the lack of a judicial council in this jurisdiction the injustice continues and Irish men and women still relieve themselves in cells with no toilets in Irish prisons.

  2. ancruiskeenlawnmower says:

    John, what a refreshing take on Irish history, truly refreshing. Utter bollocks and a corruption of reality at every turn but refreshing never the less.

    I’d rather piss against the wind than 5hit in my own trousers.

    And it was 800 years btw.

  3. Kev says:

    Hey, brilliantly written article! Thanks for this. I’m a moderator on Tír na Saor, one of our members added this article to our forums and I was hoping to contact the author to see if they would mind if I added it as an article to our main site? (Will credit the author with links etc of course 😉

    I’m assuming its okay but wanted to check first. Can u give the nod with a mail to or even a comment on here please?

    Síochana duit,


  4. Hi,

    No problem- work away.

    I await some realistic response; something that might change my cynical mind-set!

    I am open to persuasion but not by rhetoric or vitriol! Just facts.

  5. Seán Ryan says:

    To be honest John, I don’t care enough to want to change your mind. I’m not about recruiting followers. For a person who says that he doesn’t want rhetoric or vitriol you sure didn’t skimp on it yourself. You pronounce figments of your imagination as fact and use them to spout your own rhetoric and vitriol.

    If you have a fact based argument that falsifies anything I’ve stated to be a fact, I’ll happily acknowledge it and even thank you for it. Other than that, I’m not going to argue with you. I can think of much better ways of amusing myself.

  6. And include all known data concerning Gardai ‘response’ to child abuse allegations…… whose protecting whom?

  7. Our natural needs cannot be met in isolation, they can only be met by each meeting the others needs, in safety. The greatest joy in human interactions is when we can safely meet another’s needs. This is what win-win negotiations are all about. And, happily or innate biology has mandated that self-empathy and empathy are the primary resources in this. This is what Neuro-Science, peri-natal and post natal science, child development science and bio-chemistry (the interplay of hormones, environment and development) all indicate.

  8. lost in the paperwork says:

    thanks for writing anything about GSOC that encourages discussion. My experience with them has been grueling, upsetting and has so far served no purpose other than allowing them to discredit me.

  9. Hello Sean,

    A very worthy “critique” of the Garda Ombudsman Commission; but I am inclined to the view that it is important that you take time to persuade Mr. O’Shaughnessy (and his ilk) of the error in his thinking.



  10. MayoMan says:

    Same frustrating experience here I’m afraid. Despite documents, digital recordings and reams of incontestable evidence of serious Garda wrongdoing, the GSOC seems determined to rule out everything as ‘inadmissible’ before we start – even before they’ve seen or heard the evidence. When we ask direct questions, we get generic non-answers, evasiveness and inexplicable delays. And then we find out that the three civilian Commissioners (who were appointed by Bertie) don’t actually have any input into the complaints-processing procedure??? What on earth are they there for then? And what about the 87 staff and the €11m budget? Apparently, some highly-paid civil servant (after ruling out as much evidence as possible) simply passes the public’s complaints to the Garda Commissioner – who in turn, appoints another Garda to investigate. Then, even if that investigating officer actually finds that something is amiss, the Garda Commissioner can make a ruling – any ruling he wishes – and he doesn’t have to answer to anyone – not even to the GSOC!? I agree with the suggestion that we bypass them altogether and take direct action through the Courts – as well as publish our experiences online for all to see.

    Three new Garda Ombudsman Commissioners recently appointed.. but will we see any real changes?

  11. Seán Ryan says:

    I reckon that if we got enough folks together, with their incontrovertible audio and video of garda malfeasance we’d have a real shot at changing things.

    The big problem with sorting this mess out, as I see it, is the DPP.

    I won’t go into the DPP rejecting the majority of cases that make it through the ombudsman filtering system. I’ll just say that the DPP has a monopoly on who gets prosecuted in this country, or rather, who doesn’t get prosecuted. I could tell some tales…

    Anyhow, I’d like to see a campaign initiated to remove this monopoly and culminated in a courtroom to achieve it. I can initiate a criminal prosecution in the District Court. But I cannot do so in the Circuit Court, the place where most garda malfeasance should be prosecuted. I want to see that changed. Folks could do their own prosecutions or hire legal teams to do it. Indeed, it’s for this very reason that I think the legal eagles would actually support the cause.

    2012 promises to be an interesting year!

  12. MayoMan says:

    We are already taking direct action Sean, and have solid evidence that implicates senior Gardai, senior DPP staff and senior GSOC staff in collusion and cover-ups.. evidence that none of the authorities want to see. So we’re taking our own civil action to expose the corruption. It would be great to talk to some like-minded others, even if only for some mutual support..?

    We’d be 100% behind any campaign that would help show the decent people of Ireland what’s really going on behind the scenes.

  13. Aidan says:

    Your article has some great info – thanks.
    Yet another example of the catastrophe that follows when any group is allowed to “police” itself. An earlier comment referenced church abuse – a prime example of the astonishing fact that just as nature has decreed that:
    one + one = two
    so human nature decrees that:
    self-policing = concluding that “of course we didn’t do anything wrong… in any way… whatsoever… at all… we can’t you see… because we’re the good guys… and even if we did, which we didn’t, well we meant well and because we’re on the side of Good and Right you can trust us… q.e.d. really…”

  14. Kieran Lynch says:

    See Phoenix article dated 10/04/2009 that goes into detail about the way the elite Garda do there Jobs there are two cases mentioned one concerns the Kieran Boylan case the other concerns the so called Vodka Hijack case both are under investigation for a life time the Phoenix carries another article dated 13.07/2012 telling us that the Boylan case is still not dealt with and I believe that at least one of the people that was accused in the hijacking is on his way to the High Court when you consider these two cases together with the Ian Bailey debacle and the Donegal mess not mention John Carthy, Leonard Rossiter,Dean Lyons, it is hard to believe that anybody could possible have anything positive to say about this inept outfit.

  15. Stephen says:

    A video library of citizens complaints as well as a new ‘HAFTA’ database (Holding Authority Figures To Account) is being set up via Integrity Ireland. The HAFTA database will mirror the Garda PULSE system – only this time, it will be a catalog of the crimes being committed by authority figures – especially by those in so-called ‘statutory oversight bodies’ within policing, the legal profession and the courts – for reference by members of the public. Please contact us if you have a story to tell, and want to be part of the solution..

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