Kelly questions Garda homicide figures – Victims families deserve the truth

24 January 2018

Labour TD for Tipperary, Alan Kelly has asked the Minister for Justice to investigate whether the homicide figures that are produced by an Garda Síochána are being accurately recorded, and for him to give confidence to the public that the classification of homicides is and has always been dealt with appropriately and comprehensively by the Gardaí.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I have serious concerns regarding the manner in which homicide figures are, and have been recorded by An Garda Síochána. A review of homicides which was initially to take in the years 2013-2015 was extended back to 2003 and we need to see the full and final outcome of this review now. Families of those who died as a result of homicide deserve to know.

“We already know since the middle of last year that the Policing Authority also has issues with how homicide figures are calculated. Furthermore, the CSO have refused to accept the Gardaí’s figures, which is frankly incredible. We also have reports of internal tensions between the head of the Garda Analysis Service and senior members of Garda management regarding how various homicide figures were calculated, categorised and compiled in reports.

“We have heard reports that 6% of homicide cases between 2003-May 2017 were not classified properly as homicide. This is incredibly disturbing. We have also heard reports of separate concerns regarding the classification of 41 homicides between 2013-2015.

“Where will this end?

“We need to once and for all know fully and transparently what homicides have taken place over the last 20 years. We need to have confidence that Gardaí are classifying homicides correctly. There is no other worse crime than to take another persons life. We also need to know that the Gardaí are correctly investigating homicides and categorising them. Furthermore, we need to have a guarantee that the Gardaí have the skills, the people and the training to do this work.

“I want the Minister for Justice to give confidence to the public that there are not families in Ireland who are unaware that their loved ones were actually a victim of homicide, rather than a road traffic death, an assault, a result of misadventure or another form of accident. It would be a national scandal if it’s the case that there are families left in this situation where they are unaware that their loved ones were a victim of homicide.

“I want the Gardaí in their next appearance before the Policing Authority to fully report on their findings regarding how homicides have been investigated and categorized over the last 20 years and to give confidence that it is happening correctly now.

“I believe the Gardaí and the CSO should come before the Justice Committee immediately to explain how homicides have been investigated and categorized over the last 20 years and I would ask the Chair of that Committee to request such a meeting immediately.

“I would urge the Garda Senior Management to voluntarily come before the Committee immediately to report on this issue and if they do not, I would ask that other civilian members of an Garda Síochána working in the Garda Analysis Service to consider doing so.

“This issue is incredibly sensitive and important. It needs to be dealt with now. The truth must come out.”

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