Political leaders need to fix this policing mess
In the early days of this State's difficult birth we got an unarmed citizens' police force whose officers won the people's trust. Not for nothing was An Garda Síochána done into English as the 'Civic Guards'. In many neighbouring states, police were an armed militia.
In more recent times people's confidence in the force has been eroded. We have had a series of controversies which have raised fundamental questions about the way our policing is organised.
The latest difficulties facing the force centre on allegations about phone-tapping of innocent people. The latest controversy, about phone-tapping, turns on Garda respect for Irish citizens' fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression.