Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.
Robert Kennedy (1925–68), U.S. Attorney General, Democratic politician.
The Good Stuff: The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is, by statute, ‘independent’ in carrying out the job of deciding which people should be charged with which particular crimes, and (we are told) is therefore free from Government or Garda influence. Of course, this statutory ‘independence’ is absolutely essential if the DPP is to do the job properly - on behalf of the Irish tax-paying public - and ‘without fear or favour’. Indeed, the public relies on the integrity, independence and courage of the DPP’s Office in prosecuting serious criminals and supporting the Gardai when they in turn, prosecute less-serious crimes ‘in the name of the DPP’. In their own published booklet ‘The Role of the DPP’ it clearly states that “the DPP prosecutes all serious crimes and sometimes less serious crimes.” What all this amounts to is that basically, the DPP is the final arbiter in deciding which incidents will result in persons being prosecuted, and which incidents will not be pursued. Clearly then, it is absolutely imperative that the people we entrust with overseeing this powerful office, are of the highest moral calibre, who place the interests of justice and the interests of the Irish people first and foremost. It is also very reassuring to know that if you become a victim of serious crimes that the DPP will indeed prosecute those responsible!
The Not-So-Good Stuff: Unfortunately, all is not quite as it seems at the DPP’s Office. Despite all the informative brochures, booklets and online sources telling us how it is supposed to work, it is clear from reports submitted by I-I Members that there is little confidence that the Office of the DPP is either truly independent nor free from being influenced by the Government and Garda Management. In the first place for instance, the DPP is appointed by the Government under recommendation from the Attorney General - who in turn is the senior legal advisor to the Government. The DPP is also traditionally selected from a very narrow pool of career lawmakers who are already well-embedded in State-run or State sponsored institutions. Like so many such State-sponsored agencies, certain employees at the DPP’s Office suffer disquieting levels of entitlement and condescension, apparently believing themselves to be accountable to no-one - having long since forgotten that they are in fact in the public service. I-I Members report troubling levels of discourtesy, superciliousness and obfuscation when seeking to avail of their victims rights to contact the DPP for information. On occasions when victims of crime have alerted the DPP’s Office to anomalies in the manner in which cases are being handled by Gardai or processed at the DPP’s Office, they not only get ignored or dismissed, but evidence of direct and clearly inappropriate collusion between senior DPP staff and Gardai has subsequently emerged. So, what happened to the DPP’s supposed ‘statutory independence’ then?
The Really bad and Depressing Stuff: The personal integrity of persons in senior positions in the DPP’s Office has come seriously under question in circumstances where for example, a previously-serving DPP failed to make any mention whatsoever of a case where the DPP’s Office knew (and had even put it in writing) that Gardai were engaged in criminal efforts to frame an innocent man for murder. This wouldn’t be so bad of course if this was some sort of temporary administrative oversight. But unfortunately it wasn’t. The case in question made headlines for several years, yet the DPP at the time felt no need to speak up - even in circumstances where a citizen’s life was being destroyed day-by-day in full public view in the media. Likewise, another I-I Member reports having solid irrefutable evidence that the current DPP conspired with Gardai to make a pretence of processing empty files for the purposes of misleading a citizen who was a victim of multiple crimes - and where an abundance of incriminating evidence had been given to the Gardai. Unfortunately, the main suspect was apparently ‘connected’ to a senior politician which is the only plausible (albeit unacceptable) explanation for why prosecutions did not ensue. When the matter was reported to the various authorities as an allegation of ‘conspiracy to pervert justice’ each in turn referred to the alleged ‘independence’ of the DPP’s Office, stating they had ‘no mandate’ to interfere, and ‘no authority’ to investigate. Perhaps even more disturbing is the blatant and inexplicable decision not to prosecute a well-known, high-level international drug dealer, who already had multiple convictions against his name. Apparently this ‘independent decision’ of the DPP not to prosecute this individual was arrived at after alleged ‘private consultations’ with Garda Management who had their own reasons to want to protect this particular criminal. Again, what happened to the supposed ‘statutory independence’ of the DPP’s Office - and being supposedly free from Garda influence? What happened to the DPP’s mandate to robustly apply the law and prosecute ALL serious crimes? Is this just even more evidence of the selective interpretation of the law and the Constitution that has become routine amongst the powers that be? It seems that the DPP, like so many other highly-placed authority figures in Ireland, can do what they damn-well please, breaking, bending and twisting the rules at will, without fear of ever being held properly to account. Like so many other State-sponsored agencies and institutions it seems that the primary function and purpose for the DPP’s Office is to give the misleading impression of being an ethical and professional instrument of the law, whilst making sure that it is in fact ‘business as usual’ for the protected and connected elite, and for those that so abjectly serve them.