Friday 28 October 2016

Gardaí knew when they joined force that they could not strike

Published 06/10/2016 | 02:30

A garda on duty during a recent protest outside Dublin’s City Hall.
A garda on duty during a recent protest outside Dublin’s City Hall.

"A policeman's lot is not a happy one" went a song in famed Gilbert and Sullivan opera 'The Pirates of Penzance'.

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Unfortunately, if the police are not doing their job - keeping the peace, preventing crime, and helping to bring law breakers to justice - society's lot will be not be a happy one either.

If our gardaí go on strike, they will be putting the safety and security of millions of people at risk. I sympathize with their call for full restoration of pay to pre-recession levels. It is a reasonable demand in view of the vital, in many cases life-saving, service that our police force offers all of us, and I am conscious too of the gardaí who have died while fighting crime. They are heroes of whom we can all be proud.

But if this pay demand is not met fully, I don't believe the gardaí are entitled to go on strike. They knew when they enlisted in the force that this course of action was not open to them.

Aside from the fact that they would be breaking the law, thus undermining their duty to uphold and enforce the law of the land that applies equally to every citizen, they must surely be aware that, to again quote Gilbert and Sullivan, many a criminal will be "maturing his felonious little plans" during the strike.

So while I wish the gardaí well in their pursuit of fair pay, I hope they will not engage in an illegal act that could have catastrophic consequences for decent, law-abiding citizens who, as a rule, look to the gardaí for protection…not law breaking.

John Fitzgerald

Callan, Co Kilkenny

Global institutions failing refugees

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is misguided in his belief that curbing the Security Council veto would stop wars. UN agencies themselves are replete with backroom politicking, tedious bureaucracy and a deepening schism at their heart.

The idea that a veto from any permanent member of the security council is bound to torpedo any sensible efforts to bring sustainable peace and security, whether in the occupied Palestinian territories or in Syria, Iraq and other war-stricken countries, sums up the impotence, ineptitude and undemocratic nature of these global institutions. How many resolutions spoke about Palestinians' rights to self-determination, independence, sovereignty and statehood? How many resolutions demanded cessation of hostilities in Syria and Libya only to be ignored by warring factions?

This could not be more evident than in the recent Amnesty International report accusing the wealthiest nations of showing a near absence of responsibility in the global refugee crisis. Countries like Jordan are shouldering the heavy burden of hosting refugees while a wealthy country like the UK hosts less than 1pc of the world's refugees.

What is urgently needed is a reform of global institutions, to enhance its resilience and preparedness to withstand mega-crises and global threats, and to help countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Kenya acting as buffer zones to stop the ghastly avalanche of refugees taking perilous journeys and bringing security, integration and sustainable peace to war-ravaged countries.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob

London, UK

Peres, O'Brien and Higgins

I was saddened at the passing of Shimon Peres, a great son of Israel and a world statesman. My late friend Conor Cruise O'Brien, a great supporter of Israel, at one time hoped there would be peace in the promised land and we would travel there to celebrate it. Alas, it was not to be. Hopefully, Conor and Shimon are now in Shamayim/Heaven having a good chat and sharing a nice bottle of red wine.

With so many world leaders present at Shimon Peres's funeral, I was surprised that President Michael D Higgins did not attend. Perhaps he was working on an update of his tome 'When Ideas Matter', not to be confused with the book 'Ideas Matter', in which an array of Irish and international figures paid tribute to Conor.

Tony Moriarty

Dublin 6

Jadotville film a great achievement

I wish to commend all who have delivered a fine film, 'The Siege of Jadotville', adapted from the book by Declan Power. The film captured the great determination and willingness of the Irish battalion in the Congo in 1961. Jamie Dornan in particular played the role of Comdt Pat Quinlan in a dignified and in a brave way, illustrating the great qualities of this man.

This film has invited us to reflect on the forgotten men who served in that battalion and the film itself honours them in every way. The timing is very significant in this centenary year of the Easter Rising when we as a nation honoured all our Defence Forces. Well done to Parallel films, Richie Smith, Kevin Brodbin, Alan Moloney and all involved.

Niall Moonan

Drogheda, Co Louth

EU will punish Irish to spite UK

Is Tuesday now official 'Bash the Brits Day' in the Irish Independent?

Certainly the article (October 4) by John Bruton suggesting that Irish firms will need protection from discrimination in post-Brexit Britain reads as if it is intended to be a parody of the extreme 'Remain' arguments that so lamentably failed.

The way the EU is talking, it is much more likely that British firms will face discrimination in the EU, since there seems a desire to punish Britain for its temerity. The British government has made it clear that it wants and welcomes free trade with other countries and its laws prohibit discrimination of any sort. We have been trading with Ireland long before the EU ever existed and there is no desire in Britain for that to change.

If there are any problems for Ireland after Brexit, they will not come from us but rather because the EU is willing to sacrifice the interests of Ireland to spite Britain, and Irish politicians such as Mr Bruton are too frightened to stand up for Ireland's national interests.

Neil Addison

Duke Street, Liverpool

Campaign coverage no joke

Almost the entire coverage of the US presidential campaign in the media borders on irresponsible journalism. Why? The tenor of the coverage is that Donald Trump is a slightly neurotic dangerous comedian and Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted. In addition, the campaign is viewed as if it was a soap opera.

It is not up to journalists to cast this image, this should be left to columnists and editorial writers.

CNN sets the tone with the TV anchor Kate Bolduan, whose election coverage treats the campaign as a comedy show, complete with 'Countdown to election day'.

Countdowns are appropriate for sporting events and theatrical opening nights, not for an event which is going to choose one of the most powerful political office-holders in the world.

Vincent J Lavery

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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