Sunday 11 December 2016

Drop the euphemisms - Garda 'strike' is a mutiny against State

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

'The threatened Garda strike action would be illegal' (Stock picture)
'The threatened Garda strike action would be illegal' (Stock picture)

When Robert Peel inaugurated the London Metropolitan Police in 1829 to replace parish policing, there was considerable public unease, anxiety and opposition. Peel devised nine principles, or general instructions, which underpin the legitimacy of policing today in Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as the UK - these tenets were designed to foster the fundamental principle of policing a democracy through consent.

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On appointment, each garda swears an oath to uphold the Constitution and the law. This oath takes account of the Peel principle that each member of An Garda Síochána must recognise always that their power to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

Media reporting of the threatened disruption to policing service is euphemistically described as "a strike" and a "withdrawal of labour" - despite the illegality of the initiative. Do the potential consequences of this threat to public safety and national security not warrant defining this threat for what it is - a potential mutiny, a blatant attack on the authority of the State, a brazen disregard for the Constitution and the law, spawned in the muddled melodramatic chaos of canteen culture?

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