Gardaí deny breakdown in discipline

Thursday 08 January 2004 20.21

An Garda Siochana has issued a statement in response to allegations of corruption, perjury and a breakdown of discipline within the force, as highlighted in a Prime Time programme to be broadcast on RTÉ tonight.

The statement says the gardaí categorically deny any claim that discipline has broken down.

It insists the force has in the past and will continue to deal with wrongdoing by gardaí through the criminal justice system and its internal discipline code.

The statement says that the force was extremely concerned about a serious allegation by a former judge that officers have committed perjury in his court over the years.

The ICCL called for the Government to move quickly on its proposals to introduce a Garda Ombudsman, to ensure that there is a fully independent, and fully resourced complaints and investigative mechanism to address incidents like those reported in tonight's programme.

Its Director, Aisling Reidy, said the programme illustrates what happens when there is no independent complaints mechanism to monitor and punish abuse by law enforcement agencies.

Ms Reidy said a culture of denial and impunity emerges, in those circumstances, as exists amongst certain elements of the Gardaí.

'With the European Convention on Human Rights recently being given effect in Irish law, it is all the more important that the obligations it imposes on the government - to deter, detect, investigate and punish instances of abuse - are met,' Ms Reidy said.