After Charleton

I wrote this before the Charleton tribunal first sat (and at a time when I didn’t think I would be covering it). It feels appropriate to repost it today. Every time a Morris report was published, experts and commentators suddenly appeared. They were almost entirely uninformed. And an awful lot of commentary will obsess about… Continue reading After Charleton

When you’re reporting your source’s point of view, its PR, not journalism

There was a rumour you see. And as far as the Guards were concerned, it was a believable rumour, despite the complete absence of any forensic evidence. So the Guards mobilised, and swooped down on innocent families. Not this week in Tallaght and the Midlands, but 17 years ago, in Donegal. The case led to… Continue reading When you’re reporting your source’s point of view, its PR, not journalism

Threat Level

Justice minister Dermot Ahern says membership of a criminal gang will become a scheduled offence, to be tried in the Special Criminal Court. In the last chapter of Chaos and Conspiracy, when I considered the lessons to be learned from what happened in Donegal a decade ago, I wrote this: “The Gardaí need effective oversight… Continue reading Threat Level


Dermot Gallagher, former secretary general at the department of foreign affairs, has been appointed as the new chairman of the Garda Síochána Ombuudsman Commission. Gallagher replaces Justice Kevin Haugh, who died unexpectedly last week. The government does not usually react with such speed when high positions fall vacant, but in this case, it was prepared.… Continue reading Legacy