Saturday 3 December 2016

Dangers of being an informant

Published 23/12/2012 | 05:00

Madam – John Fitzgerald's reaction to the TV series Love/Hate (Sunday Independent, December 9, 2012) that the best way for the public to show their appreciation is "to pass on any information we might have on true life gangland activities to the gardai" is a good idea ... if you want to spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder.

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The difference between 'the real killers and drug pushers and the make-believe ones on TV' then blurs to the point where people who know you would say, to quote the character portrayed by Peter Coonan: "You're bein' paranoid."

The decision to pass on information has the potential to be life-changing, in a way that has the potential to be terrifying. In this country, a citizen who takes the step of becoming an informant is not guaranteed protection by the forces of law and order. I agree that Love/Hate is a compelling and hard-hitting drama, but it's not a call for ordinary people to become informants. If anything, it's a warning to those uninitiated into the criminal environment to stay away. It should also be interpreted as an open invitation to the authorities to come up with a solution to the drug epidemic and the sordid turf wars between criminal gangs, if they are able to.

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