By Shane Flanagan
The Garda corruption scandal is no longer an existential crisis in the midst of the Irish State, it has full blown implications for all Irish citizens. For a while now I have not bothered to argue with those who have railed against my view that our police service is fundamentally flawed. This was not an opinion based solely on experience, although obviously, these inform my views, but recent evidence such as the findings of the O Higgins Report is damning enough by itself. But most people who live in predominately working class areas like I do might have a slightly skewered view of our police service, this is simply the reality of life in Ireland today. I have heard and seen enough to know that some Gardaí are not fit to be the agents of justice in a civilised state. But please note that I do not in my views seek to emasculate the Gardai. In fact, far from it. I believe in forceful and present policing, it’s just that I question exactly how forceful our police force should be and where and when it needs to be present.
Noirín O’ Sullivan
The scandals surrounding Maurice McCabe’s whistleblowing are nothing new, and all reasonable people have been disgusted at how this innocent and conscientious man had been treated. But recent events should cause everyone to wonder at just how sickly our state is in relation to our public services. That a man’s good name could be blackened by allegations of sexual abuse is a moral heresy in a country that was raped for so many years by the mother church. Such practices of assassinated blackmail belong to the totalitarian backwaters of the past, not to a modern European nation such as Ireland, it’s sickening. The Last Garda Commissioner was obviously a vile man who was made obscene statements that flouted the idea of justice and the truth in attempting to throw McCabe and others like him under the bus. Frankly, I was as suspect of the appointment of Noirín O’ Sullivan as anyone else, but even if she is eventually found to be innocent of the current accusations levelling up against her she is also by sheer deduction of logic guilty of simply not being able to do her job. She has been in my view for all intents and purposes merely a cosmetic change to the police force.
End of Kenny?
Paul Murphy was right on Prime Time last night to point out the obvious, if the Gardaí are capable of taking such ruthless actions against their own number, what on God’s Earth are they capable of doing to the average, ordinary innocent citizen? This is a pressing issue for all of us, quite simply we cannot trust our police force. I am reminded of the young woman who was thrown against a bollard merely for protesting near the Taoiseach last year. Such behaviour is unbecoming in a modern democratic country. And then there is the politics, who knew what and when blah blah blah, the usual tittle tattle. Undoubtedly the soap opera will rumble on and maybe Enda will be dethroned. The one thing this scandal should not and cannot become is a drama solely revolving around Enda Kenny’s final days as Taoiseach. Admittedly the leadership candidates of Fine Gael now find themselves in a quandary as does Micheál Martin. But our main focus should be on those willing to take on the corrupt orthodoxy of the Gardaí. What have they to tell us? I am especially interested in Mick Wallace’s accusations asserted in the Dail concerning possible members of the Gardaí colluding to smuggle heroin into this country. This isn’t recycling the accusation you must understand but quite simply a matter of logic. How are large quantities of drugs arriving in this state? If we have a corrupt police force it doesn’t take Einstein to work out that there may be a relation between two such factors. Such thoughts as these should be perused vigorously by the State.
Let’s Get Things Done
These events are yet another reason for the undermining of democracy in the West. This is not merely an existential crisis in relation to the issue of justice or political fodder for scribblers to chew upon. Reasonable and just governance is under attack throughout the civilised world. Politics has failed people everywhere, and our political classes are guilty of much. They pontificate upon grand international issues and social causes without any notice of the substantive issues of the real world. Our safety and security is one such issue. Just last week Shane Ross floated the idea of a second driving test in aid of road safety. Another scam. It’s easy to be verbose regarding such matters because who would justly be against such a sane cause as road safety. Yet, when the bus and Luas strikes were causing havoc Mr Ross was much ado about nothing. I’m not saying he is a bad man but that his thinking is symptomatic of much of our problems. I also remember a story I heard about the famed bigot and MP, Ian Paisley. There is no doubt that Mr Paisley was indeed bigoted throughout much of his life. To those who could see him for what he largely was it was always mystifying how such a man could reasonably hold a position of power. Yet apparently Mr Paisley was not just a charismatic leader trading on sectarian prejudices but also as a politician. He was a man who rolled his sleeves up and got things done through his sheer force of will, even for his Catholic constituents, of whom he was more than pleasant to on a personable basis. The point is that in a country that consistently has failures in such vital areas of services such as health, education, our justice system and its police force can we really afford to have any more scandals when we know that in places that where once formally progressive such as the United States and Turkey, they now have unhinged leaders who are adored by the public for simply managing to “get things done”? No man is an island they say, but we still are, but for how long we cannot be so sure.