On Tuesday 27th April last the organisation representing rank and file members of our police force committed what the Justice Minister described as an act of mutiny when they accused the Government, Fianna Fail and the Minister himself of national sabotage, corruption and facilitating criminality.
The Minister went on to say that the remarks were
An unprecedented political intervention by a Garda representative and have no place in a modern democracy
No democrat could tolerate such political interventions by any member of a police force.
Garda Commissioner, Fachtna Murphy, said he was not happy and would be calling in GRA General Secretary PJ Stone and new GRA President Damien McCarthy to explain their actions.
Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins said that the outgoing president of the Garda Representative Association, Michael Boyce, (GRA) should be removed from the force for such criticism of the Government, the Minister and Fianna Fáil.
Clearly, the development was seen as extremely serious by the Government and the leadership of the Gardai and, in a functional democracy, strong and decisive action would inevitably follow – so what happened?
On Tuesday the Minister said he was going to do nothing because the Garda responsible for the mutinous statement was the outgoing president of the GRA.
Unfortunately for the Minister the incoming president of the GRA, Damien McCarthy, said he fully agreed with the outgoing president that the Government, Fianna Fail and the Minister himself had been corrupted by years of power.
This was a reiteration of the mutinous statement and provided the Minister with another opportunity to demonstrate that he understood his responsibilities as Justice Minister by taking strong and decisive action.
Predictably, however, Ahern again abdicated responsibility by issuing a wishy-washy statement calling on the GRA to apologise to the Irish people for trying to politicise the police force
The calling in of the mutinous policemen to explain their behaviour by the Garda Commissioner was just as pathetic and ineffective.
Commissioner Murphy reminded the men that they were still Guards and therefore must abide by the rules. He said he could not tolerate political comment from members of the force.
The whole farcical, keystone cops episode was accurately summed up on RTEs News at One (4th report, 2nd item) when it was reported that no action would be taken against O’Boyce because he was the outgoing president of the GRA and no action would be taken against McCarthy because he was the incoming president.
The bottom line is clear: Representatives of rank and file Gardai have (accurately) accused this Government of corruption, criminality and national sabotage.
The abject failure of the State to refute the allegations by taking strong and decisive action can, effectively, be seen as an admission that the charges are true.
This successful challenge to the authority of the State is merely the opening shot of what is to come as our republic continues to be exposed as the fraudulent and failed entity that it has always been.