Thursday, July 20, 2006

18 Million euros for Barr Tribunal

The Barr Tribunal reported today on the death of John Carthy. Mr Carthy was a manic depressive and was shot by Gardai Emergency Response Unit members after a 27 hour siege outside his house. During the siege he fired 30 shots from a shot gun and he was shot after he left the house and refused to drop the loaded weapon. At least that's the simple version.

There has been a lot of criticism of the Gardai with people in the media saying they didn't need to kill him. As was pointed out today they had no non-lethal options available to them. No tasers, no bean bag guns, just real guns. Another commentator on Newstalk 106 this morning said that John Carthy was "harmless" and the police over reacted. He said if they had left John alone he would have been sitting in the pub that evening having a pint.

Now the Barr tribunal that was set up to investigate the shooting has reported that the responsibility lies with senior Gardai and not with the cops on the ground on the day. The Barr tribunal sat in public for 208 days issued a 704 page report and came up with suggestions any Garda or crime journalist could have come up with. The tribunal cost the 18 million euros.

I wonder how many non lethal weapons would 18 million euros buy? How many fully trained Garda negotiators? How many psychologists to advise the Gardai during sieges? How much treatment for manic depressives like John? Instead now the money will to to solicitors and barristers. This, like many other tribunals, has ended up costing the taxpayer far more money than the conclusions are worth.

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