Garda actions in Phibsboro

“Not so Strange” the way bias affects behaviour. Thousands of Irish descend on Croke Park on numerous Sundays in the summer to support their county teams. Thousands of Irish and others head for Croke Park to support their rugby teams since Lansdowne Road closed. They come decked out in replica shirts, flags and emblems but what if you are Irish but from EAST BELFAST?

Your team Glentoran heads for Dalymount in Phibsboro to meet Bohemians and you are a working class Belfast man decked out in your chosen jersey flags and emblems. Hold it there old son, do you not know that your emblems are ‘nongrata’ to the gardai in Phibsboro. There are many ways of policing.

Common sense and respect are better than aggression and I was not impressed to read about the actions of the Gardai in Phibsboro on that occasion. I also think that a stern faced Garda on horseback is an import from England that detracts from the concept of the gardai as members of the society they police to keep the peace rather than an authoritarian caste separate from everyone else.

Age and experience usually changes the actions and attitudes of Gardai and many of the Gardai at Inspector or Superintendent rank are excellent people with a firm grasp on reality. Common sense and discretion should always remain an integral part of sensitive responsive policing. I salute all those Gardai who have cop-on in spades. Some of the others just leave a bad taste.

The mandatory early retirement scheme for all Gardai works against the public interest and should be abandoned. I know a few former Gardai who had to retire on age grounds but who would have continued if possible. Why not now allow them compete for the next Commissionership?