Sunday 25 September 2016

Time the State took the 'Modh Direach' with callous murder gangs

Published 29/05/2016 | 02:30

Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Cartoon by Jim Cogan

Confronted by a complex political problem, Lenin cut to the core by asking two questions: "who/whom?" and "what is to be done?"

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I'm going to ask the same two questions about the crime crisis, which is a political, not a policing problem as I shall prove.

First, who is doing what to whom? Answer: the criminals are challenging the State when the State should be challenging the criminals.

The criminals can field about 20 active shooters. But let's be pessimistic and give them 100 shooters.

Between gardai and Defence Forces, the State could field some 24,000 shooters - thus outnumbering the criminals by 240 to one.

Clearly the State should long ago have used its vastly superior forces to smash the vicious criminal gangs.

So why has the State failed to do so? Some major reasons are rooted in the political ideology of the Left.

The left-wing response is that crime is caused by deprivation. Last week, Brendan Howlin was waffling away in that mode.

Behind the deprivation theory lies the Left's love affair with the romantic outlaw as revolutionary.

It was not a view shared by Karl Marx who distinguished between the progressive working class and the reactionary criminal class, whom he compared to rats around a lavatory.

George Bernard Shaw agreed with Marx: "All criminals are Tories and all Tories are criminals."

Labour has never learned that lesson. The Labour Party, led by Pat Rabbitte, rejected the 2009 legislation which gave gardai great powers to combat crime.

Former Assistant Garda Commissioner Tony Hickey, who led the successful inquiry into Veronica Guerin's murder, has a simpler view - which accords with all I have learned in my life.

Hickey believes in the existence of evil. Speaking on the fine documentary Veronica Guerin - A Legacy, he laid down a few markers for all those who patronisingly think that poor people lack the free will to reject a criminal life.

Hickey said: "I've come across a small number of people who are intrinsically evil. The social commentators blame society and blame, you know, deprivation and poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of education. But the reality is that you can't get away from it, there are some people who are just evil."

The second school of thought on crime is also linked to the Left. Give the gardai more resources, they cry. Throw money at the problem and it will go away.

But paying a lot of gardai overtime for standing around at checkpoints, while assassins use another route, is just wasting money on the wrong measures.

To Lenin's second question. What is to be done? Surprisingly, we find a lot of agreement among recently retired senior garda officers.

What they say implies that rather than give a little overtime to a lot of gardai we should to give a lot of overtime to special groups of gardai to target the gangs.

These special forces would have one major task. To confront the criminals and disrupt their daily lives.

In practical terms, this amounts to disruptive internment. So why not go the whole way?

Why not extend the Offences Against the State Acts and selectively intern the principal suspects, not just for our sake but for the sake of the younger criminal pawns of the godfathers?

John O'Brien, former chief superintendent and national head of Interpol, told the Irish Times, at "the extreme end of the scale emergency legislation could be introduced to effectively intern the key gang leaders".

Naturally we don't want police with special powers to run riot. So why not create a category of pro-active, prosecuting magistrates on the Italian model, as recently recommended by Archbishop Martin?

In sum, what's really stopping us from stopping crime? The answer is what Aristotle calls akrasia, weakness of the will on the part of all political parties.

That lack of political will is rooted in a class deference to our learned friends.

Look at the length of time it took to take away John Gilligan's assets, a process that started in 1996.

And when did it finish? Twenty years later! How did Gilligan get away with that disgusting delay?

Tony Hickey told us: "He went to every court in the land here and he fought the seizure of Jessbrook."

Did he pay his legal costs with his own money? Not according to Hickey: "He used free legal aid right along the way."

But surely the courts dismissed Gilligan's delaying tactics with a snort? Alas, no. "He got a benign reception, I think it's fair to say, in some of the courts."

The same dilatory deference to wig and gown has even emasculated the Criminal Justice Amendment Act (2009), which seemingly gave the gardai great powers to smash the gangs.

But, so far, the legislation has largely lain fallow because the DPP has been reluctant to prosecute.

Garda sources believe that's because the DPP is not confident the legislation is strong enough to survive a subsequent legal challenge.

So it comes down to a political question. Which party will be first to take on the legal, liberal and civil liberties establishments?

Which party is willing to exorcise the evil that blights decent working-class communities by challenging the long list of legal locks that prevent the police taking the hard line?

So far all parties have dragged their feet. Possibly because the first to bell the legal cat will be at the mercy of the PC media's passion for blaming the gardai rather than the legal system.

One of the most prominent purveyors of the Leftie PC line is RTE News, which also suffers from amnesia about the contribution of the Provisional IRA to the current criminal culture of callous murder.

RTE News is also a sucker for the Sinn Fein ploy of setting up a distraction - like the somewhat discounted Martin Kenny allegations - whenever Sinn Fein faces awkward questions in another area.

Last week, Sinn Fein wanted to distract attention from two such areas: the start of the Kingsmill massacre inquiry and serious gun charges against a former Sinn Fein councillor and his son.

But to the peculiar culture of RTE News, Sinn Fein had no need of the Martin Kenny distraction.

Last Tuesday, RTE radio news gave far more time to Louis van Gaal than to the opening of the Kingsmill inquest in Northern Ireland.

Even then it muddied the waters by bringing up murdered Captain Robert Nairac, whom only Provo trolls try to smear with the sectarian massacre.

Naturally, RTE News did not report that barrister Neil Rafferty, acting for the relatives, quoted from one of my columns in the Sunday Independent comparing the Provo massacre of Protestants in 1976 with the IRA's massacre of Protestants in the Bandon Valley in 1922.

"In both cases, Mr Harris said there had been a cover-up: 'IRA apologists, supported by some academics, created a moral fog around the Bandon Valley murders to protect the myth of a non-sectarian old IRA.'"

RTE News followed that up by giving Mary Lou McDonald five minutes on Six One to brazenly pontificate on law and order.

Finally, I was disgusted that the Taoiseach put a few weak licks (not links) in the Seanad rather than returning stalwarts like Jim D'Arcy, who was a constant scourge to Sinn Fein.

Jim is cut from the same cloth as the courageous Canadian ambassador Kevin Vickers. Both believe in the modh direach when dealing with those who disrupt our democracy.

Sunday Independent

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