Fachtna Murphy: 'accountability'

SEVERAL gardaí have breached the force's code of discipline by posting hate messages about people in custody online.

On the social networking site Facebook, an 'I Hate Scrotes' page has been created and several of its 960 online members are gardaí. The term 'scrote' is sometimes used by gardaí and others to describe people involved in criminality.

Several members of An Garda Síochána have posted bigoted messages about dealing with people in custody and have openly identified themselves as members of the force by stating on their personal Facebook pages that they are graduates of Templemore Garda College, as well as displaying the force's crest.

One garda describes them as "dirty swamp donkeys" and another states they should all be sent to the "gas chambers".

Michael O'Boyce, president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), said it was difficult to ever fully verify the identity of people who posted messages online but added: "If gardaí are expressing these views, it's clearly not the wider view of An Garda Síochána."

Another garda wrote: "Filthy flea ridden sceptic [sic] faced f**ks, I think thats accurate enough to describe all scrotes !!!"

Another serving garda posted: "Free legal aid? We arrest them, bring them to court, they get free legal aid (paid for by the taxes out of good citizens wages including our own) and are let out. Can they not pay for it from the burglaries and shop lifting? Legal system is a joke. It's easy to recommend pay cuts for us from a comfy mansion."

Several other officers describe their experience when dealing with people in custody: "When ya hear 'I swear ta God officerrrrr' you just know there's a great line by way of excuse about a sick granny/ cousin/ parrot comin ur way."

Another female garda wrote: "Ah jaysus gerd i just bought it yesterday... tell ye what if ye let me off i know a fella selling fake nikes... i can get you a pair if you want." Another officer remarks of prisoners' demeanour while in garda custody: "Where's the sargent [sic]... i want me doccttorrrrrrrrr, i nead [sic] me mettadoneeeeee!!!"

Members of the public have commented on the webpage at the fact that gardaí have clearly identified themselves online.

The derogatory comments made by serving gardaí are in breach of the force's code of discipline. The officers who breached this by posting hate messages could now face disciplinary action.

In April, the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) launched its 'Human Rights Compliance of An Garda Síochána', a policy statement outlining its recommendations to the force on the pressing reforms needed to become a more human-rights-compliant police service.

Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy also recently highlighted the importance of maintaining high professional standards within the force.

He told garda graduates at Templemore Training College two months ago: "The values I stand for are honesty, accountability, respect and professionalism. That's what I want out of the members of An Garda Síochána. Anybody who steps outside those values will be dealt with."