Gardaí must be protected while doing their jobs
THE recent shooting incident at Carbury Garda Station in Co Kildare was mentioned fleetingly at the GRA annual conference earlier this week. But most missed the seriousness of the situation because there was so much debate about the unprecedented levels of violence being aimed at our rank-and-file gardaí on a daily basis.
The reference to the incident was lost among stories of how social media was being used by the thuggish elements of the anti-water protest lobby to intimidate gardaí who were simply doing their jobs.
We also heard how criminals are no longer afraid to target and assault off-duty gardai because they feel they can get away with it.
On average, two gardaí are being attacked and injured in the line of duty every day in Ireland.
The issuing of official documents informing six ordinary gardaí that their lives are in danger is unprecedented in living memory.
It is a worrying that organised crime elements have been allowed to become so dangerous that they can openly threaten an entire station.
And it's not as if we haven't been here before.
Veronica Guerin and Detective Garda Jerry McCabe were assassinated in separate outrages within a few weeks of each other in 1996. It was a clear warning that the criminals and terrorists felt they were omnipotent in the face of a weak State.
The fact that six members of the gardaí require armed protection going about their important work is a new, chilling message.
If we don't heed it and do something, the GRA will be proved correct - there will be more cases like that of Adrian Donohoe, the garda shot dead in the line of duty in 2013.