Sunday 18 February 2018

Bring back big country guards

Madam – When reading Jim Cusack's article (Sunday Independent, March 17, 2013), about the 671 gardai who missed three days or more from work in 2011 because of injuries sustained in the line of duty, I was reminded of what Donal Lenihan had to say about the spate of injuries visited on the Irish rugby team.

After the game against the French on March 9, the number of walking wounded on the Irish team was catastrophically high. Donal attributed this to the fact that our players weren't big enough or strong enough to be a match for the Goliaths who populate modern international teams. The analogy with the gardai is apt. Do some of our protectors in blue experience a similar difficulty when faced with our modern day thugs? In the past it was a given that the average garda was big and strong. In the song An puc ar buile there is a reference to a garda mor i mBaile Rostaigh.

Big gardai deter would-be assailants while providing reassurance for the bulk of revellers who are law-abiding. Surely in the present circumstances, when violent attacks on gardai are unprecedented in the force's history, there is a case to reinstate the height and chest requirements that existed formally for incoming recruits to the force. It wouldn't provide a panacea, but might be a case where it wouldn't be a bad idea to go back to the future.

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