Should Patten head south..?

IN the wake of the damning Morris Tribunal report, should some of the Patten proposals on policing now be adopted by the Garda? Susan McKay seems to think so, as the PSNI is now one of the world’s more accountable police forces, and makes a case for a ‘Garda Ombudsman’. After all, certain gardai are only retiring now – long after they should have. Reform has been ignored too long, and if public confidence in the police is important, changes will need to be made.

  • maca

    ‘Garda Ombudsman’

    Isn’t this and more covered by the Garda Síochána Bill 2004?

  • Mick

    Well not in the strength and depth of Patten. Nuala O’Loan has a huge office that sits outside the PSNI and has considerable powers to investigate any accusations of misconduct thereof.

  • David

    There seem to have been large calls for the implementation of most of Patten in Ireland espically from the left and in particular certain members of the Labour party.

  • IJP

    Reform has been ignored too long, and if public confidence in the police is important, changes will need to be made.

    Sorry I’m not clear who says this – is this your view, Gonzo, or Susan McKay’s (or both)? If the former, what do you base it on, out of interest?

  • Michael Turley

    Vincent Browne has a good column about this in todays Irish Times. He makes the point that alarm bells were going off 30 years ago and nothing was done and the signs now, as regards implementation of effective reform, are worrying.

    I am surprised at the Ministers inertia considering his stated agenda to reform the Garda.

  • Keith M

    First of all, the old overdue position of police Ombudsman is already on the way. It is ridiculous that that professional organisation dealing with the public should be the sole arbitrator of what is right and wrong (the same applies to the legal and medical professions).

    There are other areas of Patten that could be applied in this country. I’m thinking of the of the area minority representation. The immigrant communitity which accounts for a disproportionally high percentage of serious crimes in this country is hugely under-represented. One area of Patten that I would not introduce in the country are the district police partnerships. These talking shops would be one quango too many for my liking.

    If there is one Minister of Justice that I think could make the necessary changesit it’s a man with the bravery of McDowell. It is wonderful to see how he has tackled longstanding sores like prision officer overtime.

  • Gonzo


    Both, I think!

  • Tom Griffin

    Who will carry out the investigations for the Garda Ombudsman?

  • martin

    There is absolutely no point,and I think most will agree of the Garda investigating the Garda ,the force must be made accountable to the people.

    after the attempted Free Sate Army mutiny of 1924,the then Justice minister Kevin O Higgins,made sure that the army was accountable to the civilian authority=the government elected by the Irish people,why it has taken over 80 years to decide that the garda must also be held accountable beats me.

    Is Susan MC Kay stealing my ideas from previous posts.


    Was reading the other day about the murder of Seamus Ludlow, Garda initially spread a story about him being killed by IRA as an informer 1n 1976,? ?
    Turned out he was killed by 4 loyalists 2 of whom were members of loyalist parimilitary Ulster Defence Regiment,the GARDA THEN — wanted to hear nothing more about it ,made arrangements so that corroners inquest would be held at a time when Seamus’s familyn could not attend—AND LATER WHEN THE Ruc arrested these men and some of them made incrimminating statements against themselves regarding this matter,the RUC told their Gardai counterparts —WHO STILL WANTED TO HEAR NOTHING


    KEITH M,

    I agree with you about the district police partnerships being waste of time talking shops in the south.
    I have attended something similar to that on 3 occasions in the south,it was sort of meet the local police and local councilors at the parish hall and feel free to ask questions—-no-one apart from myself asked the awkward questions like –where exactly do the gardai hide when they are needed, that you hear in any pub or coffee shop in the green and pleasant 26 county state,it was full of yes people ,buisness people not wanting to rock the boat,neuvo reich who wanted to be seen to be in total co-operation with law and order,and myself who was regarded as a bit of a Bolshevik for daring to ask for statistics on how many crimes they actually solved

  • George

    One of the main reasons McDowell got the justice job was that he was considered the great hope to take on the Gardai, who absolutely despise him but I fear they shall ensure he falls on his sword long before he gets the chance to have a go.

    the general public attitude towards the Gardai in the Irish Republic is to not annoy them lest they decide to make your life a misery.

    The scary thing, as proven in Donegal but known by anyone who has ever had a run in with them, is they can and will. If you are not with us you are against us sort of thing.

    Remember the Heavy Gang, for example. What was done about that? Nothing.

  • martin

    fully agree with what you said in your post above about the issue of fear which i failed to mention and yes the guards do make peoples lives a misery who cross them,but dont you think that the people give the guards this power over them,the south has an awful long way to go as regards people asserting themselves and their rights ,what happened to protest, disenting voices, IS ROMANTIC IRELAND REALLY DEAD AND GONE AND WITH O’LEARY IN THE GRAVE.

  • George

    my view for what it’s worth after a very long day is that Irish people, north and south, Catholic and Protestant, are an incredibly conservative bunch and the idea of questioning the authority within your community or even standing out from it is very much frowned upon.

    Dressing unusually as a teenager was enough for diggings from the local lads on the way home (up north believing or not believing in transubstantiation seems to suffice) and having an opinion was enough for a Garda to change from warning to charging.

    The Gardai are the Fianna Fail of European Police forces. They don’t have an ideology or a rule book, they merely position themselves where they believe the people want them to be or where they think they want them to be, be that softly softly or zero tolerance.

    Of course this is unacceptable as it is not for them to decide on what’s the best method for ensuring “justice” is done but that seems to be the mentality.

    The government say they’re getting tough on crime and hey presto a couple of robbers get it in the neck in Lusk – the government says there’s a terrorist threat and 5% of the country’s houses are searched by cops and army (after the Eksund).

    Limerick crime gangs are targetted by government and next thing a guy gets four years for making a gesture in a courtroom (ok a gesture to kill somebody but that happens all the time) and another guy gets done for going into a pub saying he’s going to kill somebody who happens to get shot 20 minutes later.

    The judiciary delivers for the Gardai too. The whole lot will have to be tackled.

    Down south, the time is fast approaching where people demand the state actually delivers a vision of what we want from our sovereignty rather than just a nice paypacket while up north something is also afoot.

    Optimist that I am, I’ll say Ireland’s Romantics aren’t dead and gone, they just haven’t been born or got into power yet.

  • martin


    Thanks for the informative response ,good post,will talk again tomorrow, good night.

  • martin

    A senior Garda was arrested after he attacked a jelly bean machine in a kebab shop—I wonder was attack ordered by Lennihan.

    The inspector violently shook the dispenser in the take away in Templemore co Tipperary–according to the staff of Templemore Abra kebabra when the blueshirt’s money got stuck in the machine he became threatening and abusive attempting to pull the macinne off the counter-the Dublin based Garda was arrested last saturday after he was asked to leave the machine alone 3 times–he repeatedly bellowed in a bellicose manner at the frightened staff—All women.
    several Gardai had to restrain this idiot.

    When he was released from Templemore police station he was re-arrested when he charged straight for the take away ,shouting threats and obscenities——IS THIS A CASE OF THE REVENGE OF ROBO COP.