Senior gardaí tonight broke their silence to reject stinging criticism arising from the Morris Tribunal report into alleged Garda corruption in Donegal.
The Association of Garda Superintendents is set to make its first official response this week to Judge Frederick Morris’s damning report last month which has already forced one serving and one former superintendent to quit.
Supt Kevin Lennon, who Morris found had planted arms finds to boost his career, will have his fate decided by the Cabinet in the Autumn.
The AGS members are blaming senior garda management at Garda HQ who had overall responsibility for the rural Donegal division during the 1990s.
A source within the 200-member organisation said today that its members are angry that superintendents are “taking the rap for the inefficiencies of senior management who had the necessary powers to change what was going on at the time.”
“Garda management put superintendents up there to do their jobs on a day-to-day basis so the buck must ultimately stop further up the rank in Garda HQ in Phoenix Park.”
Supt John P O’Connor who was in charge of the Buncrana district and former Border Supt Denis Fitzpatrick have already retired early after meetings with Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy.
Other senior gardaí who served in the Donegal area during the 1990s were criticised as negligent in the damning ‘Explosives Module’ report because they failed to uncover the activities of Lennon and Det Garda Noel McMahon.
The Morris findings have already lead to calls for Garda reforms, including more hands-on control by Garda HQ, tougher discipline within the force, a new promotions structure and improved record keeping.
Justice Minister, Michael McDowell described the revelations as a “dark day” for the Gardaí and described the findings of the tribunal as “frightening and unprecedented”.
Det Garda Noel McMahon has since resigned after dismissal proceedings were launched by the Commissioner after the report found he planted explosives and lied to the Tribunal.
The Garda Representative Association, which has been quite vocal on the report’s findings since their publication, said they saddened all “hard-working” members of the force.