Coalition builds bridges with the boys (and girls) in blue
What a difference a year makes. This time 12 months ago, the Government and the gardai were disturbing the peace. There was an unmerciful imbroglio involving a Cecil B. DeMille-sized cast including the then-garda commissioner Martin Callinan, the then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter, the Taoiseach, GSOC, whistleblowers, the garda confidential recipient, and a couple of departmental secretaries-general.
There were firings, resignations, recriminations, finger-pointing and lingering bitterness. When the dust settled and a new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and a new Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan were installed, it was painfully evident that there were bridges to be rebuilt - bridges the size of, say, the Golden Gate.
And so Templemore garda training college found itself bathed in the warm, fuzzy glow of political affection yesterday. With the ban on recruitment lifted last summer after an almost five-year freeze, 300 new gardai were selected from a staggering 27,000 applications. And yesterday the latest batch of baby bizzies found themselves enveloped in a [metaphorical] group hug with no less than the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Justice Minister.