Homicide statistics: Something rotten in Garda

Given the evidence of Sgt Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal, claims by Garda civilian staff of ill-treatment by senior management are hardly surprising.

It is, however, still shocking for ordinary, decent citizens to learn of claims that Garda management attempted to suppress the full extent of problems in recording homicides.

Homicides consist of all forms of unlawful killing, up to and including murder. If we cannot trust our national police force to classify homicides in a professional manner, what can we trust it with?

Civilian analysts Lois West and Laura Galligan say they were pressurised into signing off on a report about homicide misclassifications that they knew as “completely inaccurate” and “misleading”.

They also told the Oireachtas justice committee that their integrity was undermined and attacked.

Sound familiar? It should, as it mirrors almost exactly the treatment meted out to Sgt McCabe. It should be noted that this treatment, as alleged, was not a historic event but one that took place over the past two years.

The evidence is overwhelming that there is something rotten at the core of An Garda Síochána that only a root-and-branch reform can resolve.

Otherwise, its reputation is so tarnished that it is in danger of losing all public confidence in its operations.

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