Saturday 1 November 2014

A time to salute our heroes in blue

Published 31/01/2013 | 17:00

For a short while yesterday the nation came together.

We put aside personal worries, national apprehension about the state of the economy and we thought about one courageous man and one family.

The past four years have been hard and throughout this economic crisis we have found many things that have divided us. Sections of society have been pitted against each other, but throughout it all we have been served by an impartial and efficient garda force.

As Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was laid to rest it was somehow a fitting occasion for a national meeting of hearts and minds.

The shocking and senseless murder of a dedicated, active and community-driven member of the Garda Siochana was both an outrage and a tragedy. As a nation we shared the sense of loss, albeit to a far different degree of his bereaved family, at the execution of such a fine officer.

It was therefore with a large degree of disbelief that we witnessed some politicians sling arrows at the reputation of the force on a week such as this.

Deputy Clare Daly has made a crusade of objecting to the garda's discretion to deal with summary matters, such as traffic offences.

When she was arrested on suspicion of drink driving she was less than complimentary towards the force in general. Her slurs were uncalled for and disingenuous.

Another TD, Deputy Ming Flanagan, showed himself unsuited to the office when he made universal disparaging remarks about the Garda Siochana.

And then there was Gerry Adams whose crocodile tears and calculated apology for the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe, 17 years after the fact, smacked of opportunism.

It was the stuff that would have driven Det Garda Donohoe and the hard-working and diligent members of the Garda Siochana to distraction.

We are well served by a civilian police service, embedded in the community.

Our unarmed and uniformed police officers have the power to deal with minor matters, something some politicians would like to see taken from them but which would ultimately deprive the force of their discretionary rights.

If only our elected representatives reflected the integrity of many of our sworn police officers.

If only many more in Leinster House had the same integrity of the vast majority who wear 'the blue'.

But now is not a time for point scoring. Far from it.

Today, our sincere sympathies go to Caroline Donohoe and her two children, Amy and Niall.

Our thoughts and prayers are with them now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Irish Independent

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