Some people think very highly of gardai, that they are there to protect us and all the rest. I must confess that I'm not one... I've only every been inconvenienced by them.
The first time I was about 8 years old, and awoke to the sound of banging on the door one early morning. Minutes later, a plain-clothes redneck with his gun holster showing from underneath his substantial lapel was in my – and my brother's – bedroom, blustering the big "Hello lads", in the creepy, voice-of-authority manner that teachers and priests of the time also employed.
The second time I was about sixteen, and had forgotten about a tin of Dandelion Market grass that I had bought months previously. I'd tried it and thought it was crap, before consigning it to a mantlepiece in one of the empty rooms up the house (we lived in the rented ground-floor flat of a rather dilapidated Georgian building).
I thought I'd been had, to be honest with you, and the hustler who had sold it to me had given me a tin of thyme. The bould boys in blue were of another mind, however – apparently it was the real thing. They confiscated it, of course.
They were welcome to it, as far as I was concerned. I thought it was utter rubbish, and felt no effects from it at all. To this day I can't figure out the fascination with cannabis that many people have, including hick gobshites like Luke "Ming" Flanagan.
There aren't too many of you, I'm sure, who can boast about their gaff being raided, not once - but twice, during their childhood? "Why did it happen?" you ask.
Well, we had a very bad time with landlords in Yours Truly's formative days. On one occasion said landlord even turned up with some heavies and threatened the old man, who was having none of it, to his credit. I think the old dear then approached some splinter group – possibly Official Sinn Fein (who now make up much of the Labour Party).
We ended up appearing in their paper, as they took some pictures and highlighted our rather poor living conditions. Before they did that, though, I had to take down my "Leeds United" pennant from the wall – so much for them being internationalist socialists, eh? Even an 8-year-old kid could see something odd about that.
Then there was a mad aul'wan who lived down the road, whose hubby was in Portlaoise. The old dear used to chat to her if she bumped into her in the street. She was very fond of animals - I remember remarking at the time - but not so much of people, given the IRA's (and loyalist terrorists) penchant for unspeakable atrocities during that awful era.
Maybe speaking to that aul'wan was enough to get the plain-clothes men out of their Cortina a second time, all those years after the first visit? Who knows?
To this day I continue to be inconvenienced by them. You visit any Friday-night city in the UK, and you will be amazed by the amount of fuzz on the beat in potential watering-hole trouble spots.
Then have a saunter through Temple Bar on a Friday or Saturday night, as scumbags prowl the streets looking to rob and batter drunken revelers. It really is a frightening place, and those fluorescent yellow jackets are a puzzlingly rare sight amid all the mayhem.
In fact, the only time I regularly see the gardai is when I am in the car, and spot them pointing their laser guns at traffic on roads with inappropriately low speed limits. Or hiding in the backs of vans with blacked-out windows doing the same thing.
And is it any wonder that they dedicate so much time and resources into applying aspects of "the law" that they themselves are immune from, if the snippet from a recent Indo article is to be believed?
Garda whistleblower makes new charges over penalty points
25 January 2014
A GARDA whistleblower who is due to give evidence to TDs next week has made a fresh batch of penalty point allegations to the Dail's spending watchdog.
They include claims a garda arranged for the termination of penalty points for 10 members of his own
and extended family.
Several cases where senior gardai allegedly quashed points for other officers are also cited in a letter
from the whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, to the Public Accounts Committee.
Also highlighted are several instances where senior officers allegedly cancelled fixed notice penalty
charges even though the offences occurred outside of their district.
The new claims come as Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan awaits legal advice from Attorney General Maire Whelan on whether he can stop Sgt McCabe giving evidence to the committee.
Sources close to the commissioner have indicated he does not want to have to seek a High Court
injunction to halt next Thursday's hearing and is hoping that a compromise arrangement can be reached.
The commissioner believes discipline and order within the force will be compromised if a subordinate
officer is allowed give evidence to the Oireachtas.
It looks like the Garda commissioner is here demanding that honesty within the force is to be avoided at all costs, though baulking at a High Court injunction to thwart the enquiry – which even he might see would not go down too well with the public his members like to hassle.
How, even in a rotten counrty like Ireland, can an an honest copper who is prepared to give evidence against corrupt colleagues be seen as a threat? As a catalyst for "a breakdown in discipline and order in the force" no less?
Bizarre... even by the standards of the place.
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