Morris report scheduled for Dáil debate

Harry McGee, Political Editor

The department's spokeswoman said yesterday that Mr McDowell had requested time for a debate immediately after the Oireachtas returns from a break next week.

The Government has faced persistent criticism for not having made time available for any debate on the first Morris report published in July 2004 the spokeswoman said that both reports would be debated.

Mr McDowell yesterday said the findings made by tribunal chairman Mr Justice Frederick Morris made "for disturbing and depressing reading".

He said it was a matter of profound regret that the inquiry had taken place "against a background of obstruction and mendacity" by some members of the Garda Síochána.

Noting that a number of gardaí had been dismissed following the first report, Mr McDowell accepted that serving gardaí are severely criticised in the report.

"The disciplinary implications of this will now be urgently considered by the Garda Commissioner and, in respect of senior officers, by the Government," he said.

He said many of the problems within the gardaí addressed by the report would be remedied by the establishment of the Garda Ombudsman Commission and the Garda Inspectorate.

In respect to Mr Justice Morris's severe criticisms of gardaí who refused to co-operate with inquiries, Mr McDowell said he would bring an amendment to the Garda Bill requiring gardaí to account for their actions.

"We have all been let down badly by the behaviour of a number of gardaí of different ranks in Donegal," he said, noting that those most let down were other gardaí.

Labour justice spokesman Joe Costello described the report as a "second shocking instalment" in the neglect, indiscipline, and in some cases criminal activities of some gardaí in Co Donegal.

He said the findings would further undermine confidence in the force.

He accused Mr McDowell of doing little or nothing to ensure that such events could not happen again.

"There has been little evidence of any significant reform," he said, and called for an independent garda authority.

His Fine Gael counterpart Jim O'Keeffe said the "huge majority of decent men and women of the Garda Siochána have been let down by the few."

He pledged FG co-operation for the speedy passing of the Garda Bill and suggested the establishment of an Oireachtas Security Committee that would have the power to summon individual gardaí for questioning.

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