Saturday 19 August 2017

Heroic history can't be lost in Garda pay row

Garda Commissioner Eoin O'Duffy in 1919
Garda Commissioner Eoin O'Duffy in 1919

Tim Pat Coogan

My father was the first Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Síochána and, as he died when I was 12, I do not remember very much about him. But one statement of his abides with me. He used to say that the setting-up of a trusted, unarmed, police force in the middle of the Civil War was the new state's finest achievement.

I think he was probably right. But I also think that if he could see the state of the force today he would turn in his grave.

I am not merely talking about the strike threats. Of course the young gardaí's case is unanswerable and without breaching the Lansdowne Road Agreement, or whatever, some imaginative kicking of the can down the road could settle that issue.

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