Niall Collins: Shatter must help our thin blue line
Since its foundation, An Garda Siochana has served the Irish people with great distinction. It has pursued crime and lawlessness with relentless vigour and determination.
There were times when it had to defend the State against forces which wanted to bring it down. Its resilience and fortitude were tested on numerous occasions to the point where the ultimate sacrifice was demanded. Throughout it all An Garda Siochana has stood by the rule of law and the Constitution. Careful to avoid even a hint of political bias or involvement, the force has justifiably won the confidence and respect of the public it serves.
Today, An Garda Siochana is entering into a period of great challenge and uncertainty. The actions and words of the present Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and his Government colleagues would appear to indicate that the gardai are to be regarded as just another arm of the public service, with little or no recognition of their unique role in society. Garda cutbacks are to be measured as merely a percentage of overall Government expenditure and no special plea will be entertained.