I posted congratulations to Professor Diarmaid Ferriter for his article ‘Cosgrave’s support of the Garda Cast a long shadow.’ (Irish Times Sat, Oct 14, 2017) emphasising the role of the impartial historian to rise above historical revisionism/denialism. I followed it up with a letter to the Irish Times Editor.
But no sooner than both written, the Irish Times pulled the article from its archive, refused to print my letter and settled an action by ex- Justice Minister Patrick Cooney against the paper. (We publish the article in full inside.)
No garda, to my knowledge, has ever been jailed for corruption or perjury in Ireland. Then again, no garda has ever been tried for either crime. That’s because no garda has ever been charged- the result of no garda ever being investigated for corruption or perjury. Catch 22. That of course, goes for ministers and civil servants, many of who knew about Garda corruption.
Early on, in the Sallins- Garda Heavy Gang case (1976- ongoing) I decided not to jump bail even though I was certain, at all times, I would be convicted. Relatives in Spain awaited me and there was no extradition agreement between Ireland and Spain. Foremost in my mind in staying to fight the case was to shine a light on the appalling policy of the Irish State to justice and the culture of corruption and perjury of the Gardaí behind Blue Omerta, some of it alluded to in Ferriter’s article.
As a prisoner of conscience, acknowledged by Amnesty International, I campaigned for a government inquiry into Ireland’s longest running Irish criminal trial and conspiracy. Over eight consecutive days I was hospitalised once, formally charged twice, incarcerated in three jails and detained eight times, much of it illegally. Over the following thirty years, I was tried, convicted, jailed and later exonerated, having both sentence and conviction set aside. I never got even an official apology.
A government inquiry is repeatedly requested by international human rights groups, Irish and international political parties, prominent media, artists and academics, most Irish and many international trade unions and a large cross section of Irish civil society.
Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour consistently refuse to hold such an enquiry, even when demanded by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the European Convention of Human Rights- both international agreements which the Irish State has signed.
Varadkar’s claims of a new policy to hold people to account echoes in the wind and fades.
Even now, as I complete a book on the case, new mindboggling evidence of the depth and breadth of the state’s criminal conspiracy in the case bubbles to the surface, surprising even myself.
All the ongoing allegations of a culture of corruption, perjury, malpractice and mala fides in scandals in An Garda Síochána down the years could all have been addressed decades ago if such a government inquiry had been held into the Sallins- Garda Heavy Gang Case. None was.
And so it continues.