Investigations into garda malpractice scandals involving bugging allegations, corruption, false claims Roma children were abducted, seemingly lost evidence and failures to prevent high-profile crimes have cost taxpayers a massive €107m in the past decade.
The Department of Justice admitted the significant costs were accrued due to necessary state investigations into the controversies at the latest Dáil public accounts committee meeting yesterday.
Speaking during discussions with the cross-party body, the Department of Justice’s acting secretary general Noel Waters said throughout the economic crash the clear service shortfalls have seen badly needed funds diverted as part of necessary investigations.
However, despite insisting the costs occurred over “a lengthy period” and that there has to be a “balance on the public’s right to know”, he was heavily criticised by PAC chair and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness over the scale of the scandals and the fact money is being taken away from where it is needed most.
According to the figures, over the past decade €107m has been spent on investigating crises in the garda service.
The nine reports include:
- €66m to date for the Morris inquiry, which is expected to cost €80m when it concludes. The report examined corruption among gardaí in Co Donegal and was published in October 2008.
- €11m for the Cooke inquiry, which examined serious allegations police watchdog the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission was bugged last year.
- €80,000 for the report into the wrongful claim by gardaí in autumn 2013 that a number of Roma children had been abducted by their innocent families as their hair and skin was a slightly different colour.
- €14.2m to date on the Smithwick tribunal, which is expected to cost €19.2m after a further €5m in third-party legal fees this year. The report found evidence of collusion between gardaí and the provisional IRA over the murders of two RUC officers in 1989, and was published in December 2013.
- €1.4m for the O Higgins inquiry into the findings of the Sean Guerin report. The ongoing inquiry is examining a raft of serious garda malpractice and failure claims between 2007 and 2010, including sexual assaults, lost evidence, corruption and other matters.
- €2.8m for the commission of investigation into the murder of a prisoner. The report examined the death of Gary Douch, a 21-year-old who was beaten to death in Mountjoy Prison after being left in a cell with another prisoner diagnosed with psychosis, and was published last year
Fred, the figures here are slightly off, the true total cost to the Taxpayers would be around 130 million, we cannot forget the Charlton Tribunal, the other inquiries that are ongoing, and the ones covered up for now? Did we learn anything from the Morris Tribunal? Nothing is the answer. Let us not forget the two corrupt Gardai and others – Supt Lennon and his sidekick McMahon. They used a woman with bipolar to place incendiary devices at Strabane Court house. Sacked yes but never charged. But for the courage of Mrs McMahon, we may not have ever got to the root of the depth of the corruption. This is a story in itself and will be written about in the coming months. It is easy to check on the vulnerability of the woman they used as their pawn. Since this the McBrearty’s and other families can live in some peace knowing that they are exonerated from the Rogue cops. Yes, there were either three or five cops sacked; the rest were pensioned off but the biggest question and this can go globally and that is how not one cop, who cost the State million, never received a prison sentence. Drew Harris at the time was in the Ulster Police and he would have been investigating the devices that were left at Strabane Court house. That would have been his job. Now he is Garda Commissioner in the Republic and I say to Drew Harris today, the Sunday Business Post and the Sunday Times gave you a jury out but did not criticise you in your journey down South to clamp down on Corruption. Today in the Dail you were quite defensive but rural Ireland needs protection and hopefully the Border will not ignite. Fred