Victims of alleged Garda malpractice have vowed to continue their campaign for justice after dismissing Department of Justice reviews of their cases as “pointless”.
A total of 320 cases came to the Independent Review Mechanism alleging Garda misconduct, corruption, harrassment and serious investigative flaws, some dating back decades.
But 307 have been concluded without being referred for independent statutory inquiry. They include the case of Cynthia Owen who was repeatedly raped in her home, gave birth at age 11 and had her baby daughter taken away and murdered only for much of the evidence to go missing.
The Justice4All Committee which represents many of the families said 90% of reviews completed had come back with the conclusion that there be no further action.
A small number had been recommended for further inquiry but none on a statutory footing.
Independent TD Clare Daly said the review was an “absolute travesty”. “The action recommended was a complete joke,” she said.
The Committee take their concerns to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission next week and have also sent 13 sample cases to the United Nations Human Rights Commission which they hope will summon the Justice Minister to answer for the State’s failings.
Committee secretary Imelda Davies said the families were not giving up. “Many of the victims went to great expense hiring solicitors to prepare their affidavits for submission. We believe this review to be a Garda protection mechanism. It was pointless,” she said.
Independent TD Mick Wallace said some of the legal personnel hired to review the cases were paid as little as €300 per case so it was never going to be more than a cursory review.
The committee’s call for full independent inquiries is backed by law lecturer and policing expert, Dr Vicky Conway, who has recently been appointed to the new Policing Authority.
“Human rights law requires that these be independently and effectively investigated by the Irish State, something which has not yet happened,” she said.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said it was always likely that in many cases no further action could “reasonably” be taken.
“The crucial point, however, is that every case has been reviewed by independent counsel, who have made an objective recommendation,” she said.
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