Minister’s McCabe response - A new appalling vista is looming

IT is, sadly, easy to argue that An Garda Síochána cannot withstand another scandal; the force’s credibility is shot.

On too many still-unresolved issues, it has shown itself an ethical-free zone, as comfortable with organised and mass deception as any of the other pillar institutions that once held such sway.

Unfortunately, it is not so easy to suggest what might be done to resolve this rolling crisis.

The force’s deep resistance to real change or to the novel idea of democratic oversight is so deeply ingrained that it suggests gardaí almost imagine they are above the laws they exist to enforce.

This situation is unsustainable for everyone involved.

This week, Labour’s Alan Kelly expects Dáil answers from Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan about phonecalls between former commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, and secretary general of the Department of Justice, Noel Waters.

The calls were made around the time Maurice McCabe had, on the instructions of Ms O’Sullivan, his credibility and motivation challenged in the most forceful way at the O’Higgins commission.

Mr Flanagan has said his department “would have had no role in determining the approach to be taken by the garda commissioner to the commission in question”.

Should this week’s interrogation uncover even a tacit endorsement from the department of how McCabe might be undermined, then we have indeed reached an appalling vista — one that would make a radical and immediate response unavoidable.

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