Crisis in Garda Síochána and Tusla

 

Sir, – The delay by Tusla in attending to its file created on foot of a false allegation will raise alarms bells about the functioning of this relatively new yet powerful state agency. Whether malign intent or sheer incompetence was the primary factor has yet to be established, but either factor is a cause for alarm.

While the immediate political concern is to find a means to establish the truth in this complex saga and to do so in a way that holds the confidence of the injured parties (Sgt McCabe and his family) the public, and those on whom suspicion of grave misuse of power and criminality has fallen. There is a moral, a public interest and a political expediency imperative to so do. Establishing the truth in this case requires a look at the role of many actors.

However, let us not forget that close to the centre of this current sorry saga is an agency that is established to protect vulnerable and at-risk children in our society. For me and countless others who have had daily contact with vulnerable and at-risk children, we are not surprised by yet another scenario that raises our concern about the cultures and practices of Tusla at management, systems and cultural levels.

The operations, the culture, the endemic failures of this agency, which are commonly acknowledged in the “child” sector, require a separate independent examination. Such a process is required as a matter of urgency. The welfare and wellbeing of children in our society require and deserve a child protection system that responds in a timely effective and caring manner to their situation when risks are indicated and reported.

There is to much at stake to ignore the alarms bells that now sound. – Yours, etc,

Fr TONY O’RIORDAN SJ

(Former parish priest,

Moyross, Limerick),

Melbourne,

Australia.

Sir, – The McCabe shambles just goes to underline the ineptitude of the current crop of politicians. Unlike previous strains, this lot cannot even assemble the facts before they distort them.– Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond, Sligo.

Sir, – I think it’s completely unacceptable that the Taoiseach, in his interview on RTÉ’s This Week programme on Sunday, used the term “erroneous” (at least twice) to describe the allegations against Sgt Maurice McCabe. To describe appalling, baseless and completely false allegations as simply “erroneous” falls so far short of what is required that it is breathtaking. What he needed to do was to state emphatically that the allegations were an abomination and to register some genuine outrage.

Instead, all he appeared to be able to muster was a mealy-mouthed reference to them being “erroneous”, as if they were inconsequential mistakes regarding a matter of no great importance.

Perhaps that says a great deal about the State’s entire attitude to Sgt McCabe since he first had the temerity to break ranks. – Yours, etc,

DICK O’RAFFERTY,

Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Most gardaí, shortly before Christmas, threatened mutiny, a wilful disobedience of a lawful order.

That says two things: that the rank and file have little respect for their senior officers; and that senior officers have lost control of the ranks.

Can a discussion of Garda reform start from some recognition of the reality of how things are?

Probably not. – Yours, etc,

EOIN DILLON,

Mount Brown,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – What a breath of fresh air it was to observe Katherine Zappone make such a frank statement contradicting Taoiseach Enda Kenny. I wonder had the Minister for Children been a Fine Gael party member would the public have received such a speedy and candid declaration? – Yours, etc,

FIONÁN Ó NUALLÁIN,

Newtown Upper,

Co Dublin.

A chara, – How can we, and especially the State, ever make amends to Sgt Maurice McCabe and his family? How about Sgt Maurice McCabe for Garda Commissioner? – Is mise,

SEAN O’KIERSEY,

Deansgrange,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – My late mother, who was born before the foundation of the State, used to say “Never trust guards, priests or politicians”. I think we can safely say now that time has proved her so right. – Yours, etc,

DONAL KING,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The planning tribunal began in 1997 and ended in 2012. If we have a tribunal into the dysfunctional Garda Síochána, I fear it could take twice as long to report. And to as little effect. – Yours, etc,

MARGARET MAGUIRE,

Dublin 8.