Even though I am a veteran observer of Irish incompetence and stupidity there are still times when I am absolutely astonished by the sheer ignorance of how we conduct our affairs and in particular how we deal with events that involve life and death situations.
Traffic Blues is the name of a new RTE programme that records the new Garda Traffic Corps in action. A number of people called into Liveline on Monday to comment on the most recent edition of this police programme.
The first incident concerned a motorist who was breaking the law by driving with a provisional licence without an accompanying qualified driver. She also had five young children in the back seat who were not wearing seat belts; three of these children were so young that they should have been secured in booster seats.
After some bizarre behaviour by the driver, which included getting down on her knees on the road to beg forgiveness from the garda, viewers were solemnly informed by a programme voiceover that the Garda was about to make a very serious point.
“It’s an on the spot fine, it’s an €80 fine and two penalty points for having children in the back of the car with no seat belts. So off you go there, thank you.”
We then witnessed a so called officer of the law allow this potential death car, with five children clearly at risk; drive off with an illegal driver in charge.
Unfortunately, this extremely dangerous and stupid decision by the Garda is not unusual in a country where law enforcement, at all levels, is a national joke.
The bizarre reaction of Joe Duffy further confirmed that as a nation we are light years away from understanding the basic connection between breaking traffic laws and the regular sight of dead and mangled bodies all over our roads. When a caller suggested that perhaps the errant motorist should not have been allowed to drive away Joe responded:
“But the thing that struck me was that the Gardai are very civil compared to the UK where every English policeman seems to have a tattoo for a start and every English policeman or woman seems to be have a combination of arrogance and ignorance when they’re dealing with the public as they flash their tattooed shoulders or arms. I just think that Gardai come across very well but you think they’re very soft.”
He later repeated this blanket condemnation of an entire police force that, in my opinion, is one of the most courteous and professional in the world.
“My point is the UK police are extraordinarily rough and uncouth with their tattoos and their mace and whatever else they spray on you. Maybe it’s a completely different environment but compared to our Gardai, our Gardai are civil guardians of the peace.”
This is a straight forward case of pathological denial. Joe Duffy is simply incapable of understanding that road traffic laws are there to protect lives, he’s incapable of making the connection between mangled and dead bodies scattered all over the road and the non enforcement of such laws and most of all he’s completely incapable of accepting for a moment the possibility that our police force has more in common with the Keystone Cops than a modern, professional law enforcement agency. Instead, Duffy reverts to the age old gombeenism of attacking the British.
While researching for this post I came across the following definition of denial:
“A mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality.”
Tragically, this definition applies to the majority of Irish citizens and is one of the principal reasons why our country is a complete failure as a state.