MONDAY , 25th SEPTEMBER 2006 .

From ‘New Hibernia’ magazine , April 1987.

No , no regrets . Nor none belonging to me . No anniversaries . Ireland has had more than her fair share of the past . No expecting her to think of the future . Let her catch up with the present . Happenings , not dates , are important in life .

Whenever anybody asked Aunt Molly to buy a Sweepstakes ticket , she’d cluck her tongue and look reproachfully at Uncle Jack , or in his general direction . Mention some fella like the adenoidal compere , Bart Bastable , or tell a story about a winning ticket being flogged by Lucky Coady’s , and me poor uncle’s name was taken in vain . Lost mass , he did . Always lost mass . Uncle Jack must have lost more mass than Martin Luther!

Aunt Molly used to say ” Don’t talk to me about your Uncle Jack ! He’s as useful as a hole in a bucket . He’d take a sieve to a well . Like Larry McHale’s dog he’d walk a step of the road with anyone . And he never meets anybody but beggars . If he went out with a gypsy he’d come back with a tinker . Never knew anybody but dossers and tramps . ‘Molly’ , he’d say to me , ‘ I was in a fella’s company tonight and honest to God , how he’s not on the stage ! Such gas ! You’d have paid to hear him . An honour to buy him a drink .’ ” And of course Uncle Jack did . Buy the drink , that is…….

Allegations of Garda brutality only hit the headlines intermittently . But the problem may be much more widespread than most people imagine . Last year out-of-court settlements of cases involving members of the Garda cost the taxpayer over €1 million . What’s going on ?
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , April 2003 .
Mairead Carey.

Dublin North-Central competes for its place at the top of the complaints league with Dublin South Central , which includes Pearse Street , Kevin Street and Donnybrook Garda Stations . Until this year (ie 2003) the Garda Complaints Board compiled statistics to show complaints per head of population . The two Dublin central divisions ‘won’ hands down ! In 2000 , Dublin North Central had 27.6 complaints per 10,000 people compared to 1.5 in Waterford/Kilkenny .

Less than one per cent of all complaints to the Garda Complaints Board , according to its last report , resulted in a criminal prosecution , although the figures will show an increase this year as a result of the May Day riots: seven gardai are facing charges as a result of clashes with protesters .

In 2001 , almost 200 complaints were passed on to the (State) Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) but because of delays in processing the complaints the vast majority were never acted upon . Summary prosecutions must commence within six months of the date of the offence . Even the Garda Complaints Board itself admits that increasingly it is failing to provide completed investigation files to the DPP within the time limit . In its latest report it acknowledged that “…in these circumstances the right of the DPP to consider whether a member of the Garda Siochana should be prosecuted arising from a complaint has effectively been removed . The situation cannot be regarded as satisfactory……. “

James Gogartys Tribunal reminiscences about the shooting dead of a Garda colleague have resurrected a long-lost story of justice miscarried .
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 1999 .

Harry White dived through a window into the night and shot his way through a garda cordon : hit twice in the leg , he collapsed in a clump of whins half-a-mile from the house . For two cold October nights he lay wounded under the stars . (Free State) Soldiers scoured the area ; a sympathrtic soldier found him , fed him , got him to shelter and finally escorted him by bicycle to Dublin .

It was October 1946 before Harry White was finally captured on a lonely mountain farm on the Derry side of the Sperrins . Four days later , he was ‘released’ from Crumlin Road Jail , bundled into an RUC car and driven to a bridge on the Armagh-Monaghan road : a Garda car stopped on the other side , and he was bundled across the border without the slightest pretence of judicial process .

Six weeks later , at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin , he was sentenced to death . Sean McBride was defence counsel . Under cross-examination , a detective admitted he and his companions had fired on three men in the passageway . Of thirty to forty bullets fired in the lane , only two were ever produced – neither of those was the bullet that killed State Detective Mordaunt . Instead , a pathologist claimed that the hole in Mordaunt’s skull was too small to have been made by a shot from any of the Gardai’s .45 revolvers , despite the fact there was evidence some had weapons of smaller calibre . Evidence was produced that Garda fire had hit targets well away from the lane…….

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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