THE MORRIS Tribunal
into allegations of Garda corruption in the Donegal
division was "a watershed" without precedent in the
force, according to the author of a new book.
Legal expert Prof Dermot Walsh examines the
tribunal's eight reports in his soon-to-be-published
'Human Rights and Policy in Ireland: Law Policy and
Practice'. He concludes that the reports offer the
first detailed blueprint for human rights-based
reform since the establishment of the Garda Siochana.
Prof Walsh's research
was commissioned by the Irish Human Rights
Commission. The University of Limerick academic
found that the tribunal reports “exposed with
searing honesty the extent to which policy in
Ireland has remained mired in the norms of the
middle and later decades of the 20th century".
He examined the Garda record in relation to human
rights from a number of sources, including the
Morris and Barr tribunals;
court cases where Garda
evidence and behaviour was called into question;
complaints to the now-defunct Garda Complaints
Board; and the Ionann human rights audit,
commissioned by the Garda Commissioner in 2004.
Prof Walsh recommends a number of measures in his
publication, including an independent police
authority to replace the government's control of the
Garda Síochána; a human rights charter that would
put human rights at the centre of the Garda
Siochana's work as well as improved education and
training within the force.