Arbitrium Est Judicium

Several Garda officers of various ranks have been refused full costs by the Morris tribunal, which last month published its report into the mistreatment of suspects arrested during the investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richie Barron.

Barron died in a hit and run, but Gardai wrongly treated the case as murder.

Those officers who were awarded costs will have their bills paid by the ministry of Justice.

However, several former officers, including some who held senior positions within the force, will have their costs paid by the State although they were heavily criticised in the tribunal’s report.

This is because they were represented by the same legal team which appeared before the inquiry on behalf of the Garda commissioner.

The Garda commissioner has never made an application to the tribunal for costs on behalf of those officers represented by his counsel, instead paying the legal bills out of the Garda budget.

It might seem redundant for one arm of the government to ask that another arm should pick up a bill.

But it would make clearer which GardaĆ­ delayed the workings of the inquiry by their lack of cooperation.

The taxpayers who foot the bill deserve that clarity.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.