Current Affairs Politics

The Return Of The Sinister State 

Armed and armoured officers of a Regional Support Unit in the Garda Síochána
Armed and armoured officers of a Regional Support Unit in the Garda Síochána (and typical of the disastrous “Americanisation” of Irish policing)


So an unpopular minster in an unpopular government implementing unpopular policies is given her marching orders by a community suffering above-average levels of deprivation and poverty, yet the right-wing media argue that she is the one we should have sympathy for? And for what? Recognising that voters actually exist and have opinions in the long years between general elections as opposed to the short weeks leading up to the day of the ballot itself? Now the usual journalistic suspects have rolled in behind the powers-that-be, wagons circling to protect the self-entitled classes from the unruly Muintir na hÉireann. Before last week’s events we were still in stage one, with hysterical warnings about a “sinister fringe” (because anyone who disagrees with Fine Gael and Labour Party diktats must surely be “sinister” and “fringe” by definition). Now we have moved on to stage two. From the Irish Independent:

“Gardai are also considering assigning armed officers to ministers as water protests become increasingly hostile.

A beefing up of protection measures for Government members was ordered after Tanaiste Joan Burton was trapped by protesters, in an incident which Taoiseach Enda Kenny says amounted “almost to kidnapping”.

The review of security comes as protests continued to become more heated across the country.

Mr Kenny was also caught up in the drama when his car was surrounded by more than 300 angry protesters as he arrived at a Fine Gael party meeting in Sligo last night.

Several garda units, including the Crime and Security branch and anti-terrorist Special Detective Unit, are also involved in compiling intelligence on “rogue” protesters.”

That’s right, the tens of thousands of men, women and children, old and young, who have demonstrated since the start of the year against the enforcement of iniquitous taxes are now to be investigated by “anti-terrorist” officers. Forget the “rogue” spin in the article. This will be blanket surveillance and harassment of organised protesters by the forces of the state with one purpose and one purpose only: intimidation. Meanwhile the next time a senior member of one of the coalition parties faces a frustrated and disappointed member of the general public they may well do so while being accompanied by armed bodyguards.

What a wonderful historical testament these times will be to the administration of the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government in Ireland, 2011-2016 (or will it be ’15?). Hundreds of thousands of angry citizens on the streets, widespread disenchantment with the institutions of the state and gun-toting Gardaí as a threat against unruly citizenry.

Forget the “sinister fringe”. The two government parties are doing a fine job of destroying the authority of the state from the top down.

24 comments on “The Return Of The Sinister State 

  1. ar an sliabh

    So we are going to bring in armed police to intimidate the few people that dare to speak up? Just because some rogue disenchanted citizens threw a water balloon (ok) and a brick (not so good)? We just lost our minds! (Oh that’s right, they also rocked the car a little bit) What is next? Cadres of armed police facing the demonstrators? While we are at it, issue them some tan coats or pants, to go with their black tunics to evoke some history.

    • Several garda units, including the Crime and Security branch and anti-terrorist Special Detective Unit, are also involved in compiling intelligence on “rogue” protesters.”
      It seems like that they’re compiling intelligence on the brick throwers?
      What’s wrong with that?
      Brick throwing at a protest is basically an attempted murder and must be investigated and prosecuted as such.

      • Pretty much in agreement with ASF about this but still some of the scare talk of ‘rogue’ protesters is verging on the truth. There are pre-rehearsed tactics and escalations that somehow find their way into these “community” demos and I seem to notice Dublin accents being prominent in local protests all around the country. You’d have to laugh sometimes at the same old ’empowerment-speak’ lines that get trotted out all around the country as well. Obviously other groups are piggybacking the popular anger but I wonder if it’s just harmless or could some of the hard-edged groups have an interest.

        • Sharon Duglas

          What hard edged groups? Can you be more specific?

          • As I say above, “I wonder”, so I’m just speculating really but off the top of my head would some of the various republican factions have an interest in expanding their political/community base?

            • “Republican SF” is all but dead in the water (whatever minuscule faction happens to be in the ascendant at the moment, whether in Dublin, Limerick or Belfast). Éirígí seems to be rudderless and has lost much of its initial enthusiasm and popularity. 32CSM and RNU have other agendas that are dominating their thinking. IRSP. Well when’s the last time anyone heard from them?

              SF, SWP-PBP, SP and some other Leftists are the ones making the running. In fact, in this SF is very much playing catch-up.

        • Bradhar, I agree that there may be elements of the SWP-PBP and SP, etc. attempting to ride a wave of popular unrest but that is politics. Left-wing politicians exploiting an issue which engages ordinary citizens is no different from Right-wing politicians lobbying on behalf of the “moneyed-classes”. Every politico seeks out his or her particular angle as a mechanism to achieve power, whether locally and nationally.

          When Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil TDanna lobby for lower taxes and deregulation for businesses they are serving their voters’ interests. When SF and SP TDanna lobby for higher social welfare payments and investments in education they are serving their voters’ interests.

          That is the comparison the newspapers chose to never make. For obvious reasons.

          • ar an sliabh

            Very true…

          • Ah yeah more power to the various leftish parties campaigning on what is an issue that has a disproportionate effect on their constituency.
            I haven’t noticed them so organized and cohesive before though – not to mention having the good sense to focus on the issue at hand for once. That’s why I’m giving any credence at all to Kenny’s gramhsáning about shadowy figures.
            But you seem to have your finger on that pulse so fair enough.

      • Janis, seriously, catch a grip.
        ONE brick was thrown, not bricks. If you managed to see the incident, you’ll notice that the ONE brick was thrown at the back of a Garda car. Are you suggesting that it was attempted murder of a car?
        You know that they are not “compiling intelligence on the brick throwers.” They are compiling intelligence on protesters. There is something seriously wrong with that.
        Throwing a brick at a car is a stupid thing to do. It detracts from the issue. There should be no violence of any kind – and that includes the increasing violence from An Garda Síochána.
        Janis, I take it you view the water balloon as a WMD?

        • Ceannaire, I agree. The brick-thrower was an amadán and simply served to give the Rightist media a casus belli. The video at the bottom of the post shows 200 women outside Coolock Garda station holding a peaceful and non-violent vigil. Exemplary behaviour which the media will gloss over.

          • ar an sliabh

            Let’s face it, the brick thrower was just a frustrated kid, perhaps not too bright. He is on video. They probably already know who he is. What other “intelligence” does that require? Maybe they want to focus their “intelligence” on where the money went.

      • Jānis, if you knew the history of “Special Branch” operations in Ireland since the 1970s you might not be so sanguine. While many rank and file gardaí have a good record certain units have a notorious reputation.

  2. Sharon Duglas

    Throwing a brick is attempted murder- i ndáiríre?! Personally I am delighted with the efforts of, at least some of the citizenry of the Republic. Sick to my back teeth of the whole ”don’t upset my comfort level” attitude that has been going on for far too long. If the minister cannot stomach opposition, she needs to find another line of work.

    • Do you think that it’s OK to throw bricks in crowded places?
      You can easily hit someone in the head and kill or maim them.

      • Watch the footage of the brick thrower, there was no one else on the road. Aside from that it occurred after the demonstration and was a local youth, if you watch the video it occurs after the “Riot Squad” decide to charge at a bunch of teenagers.

        • Janis, your posts suggest you have not watched the video. I notice that you use that word bricks again, despite the facts being pointed out to you. It does your position no favours by exaggerating. Unless, of course, exaggerating is your position.

    • ar an sliabh

      Mise leis, go raibh maith agat do ag rá go

  3. Armed and armoured officers of a Regional Support Unit in the Garda Síochána (and typical of the disastrous “Americanisation” of Irish policing)
    What’s the problem with them?
    They’re no ordinary gardaí. That’s a SWAT team and of course they should be armed and armoured.
    Those units don’t patrol the streets. (I agree that ordinary gardaí should remain unarmed)
    They’re meant to be used when shit really hits the fan – against highly dangerous and armed criminals, and things like that.

    What should be dispatched to deal with someone like Breivik?
    Unarmed gardaí with batons?

    • Jānis, a “SWAT” team? Even the language is Americanised. We didn’t have Stromtrooper gardaí twenty years ago so why tolerate it today?

      Such tactics and formations are an indictment of a failed system of governance, policing and criminal justice.

      • ar an sliabh

        Absolutely ASF. It is such a sad testimony of our times, that such an extreme measure is a necessity. If justice was served in our courts, and violent offenders were not given 100+ chances to continue to commit their offences before any judicial action is taken, we would probably never need these storm troopers, that surely will soon see application to suppress the genuine will of the the behest of our privileged tiers of society.

        According to this page – it was founded almost 40 years ago.

        The problem is that in America those units are often misused.

        Such tactics and formations are an indictment of a failed system of governance, policing and criminal justice.
        If used properly – they’re not.

        Again – what are you going to dispatch against someone like Breivik, a gang of armed bank robbers or terrorists like the IRA?

        • From my post here on a report by the Sunday Independent announcing armed Gardaí as part of regular policing. Note the masturbatory tone of the original as the author drools over the thoughts of “high-powered” guns, echoes of the RIC and other puerile nonsense.

          “MORE than 120 uniformed gardai in specialist units countrywide will be permanently armed from today as part of a crackdown on criminal gangs and dissident terrorists.

          This is the first time that uniformed gardai have been given permission to carry guns full-time since the foundation of the force almost a century ago.

          The move has been sanctioned after a review of the operation of the five regional support units (RSUs) since their introduction in 2008.

          Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has ordered that all the regional response units will be permanently armed after a rise in the number of incidents requiring garda firepower.

          The regional units are armed with weaponry including high-powered Heckler and Koch MP7 machine guns.
          And the move will placate some officers who were unhappy at a decision to withdraw the powerful Israeli-made Uzi sub-machine gun from use within the force.

          Now, for the first time since police officers from the Royal Irish Constabulary patrolled the streets, uniformed members of the force can from today carry guns permanently.”

          Armed gardaí are a sign of failed policing not good policing. Functioning ordered societies do not require it. Government ministers being given armed guards is not a sign of progress – it is a sign of regress.

          • How are they different to the Garda Emergency Response Unit.

            Show me that utopic society that does not require armed law enforcement units.

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