Pretend policing: UN warns on corruption

The United Nations has given us another finger-wagging over our ratio of legislation to policing capacity and intent — as if it was needed. It confirmed again that our enthusiasm for making laws, but not enforcing them, is a well-established principle in our careless culture and public life.

The UN has pointed out that the Garda Anti-Corruption Unit is made up of just three officers. Even if each of those were as forceful as Dirty Harry Callahan and as energetic as Dumas’ Three Musketeers, it is impossible to imagine they have any meaningful impact on corruption, even if they are — as they undoubtedly are — supported by the whole force. Staffing of this level is laughable. Any self-respecting, top-of-the-pile criminal has as many drivers.

Transparency International routinely gives Ireland a top-of-the-class rating, listing us among the least corrupt countries. This praise usually provokes a warm, but entirely unjustified glow of self-satisfaction. After all, if you don’t look for something in a focussed, professional way, you are unlikely to find it.

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