When I became a member of An Garda Siochana in 1971 I took an oath of allegiance to this State to uphold its Constitution and laws.
The oath was to practise my work without fear, favour, malice or ill-will, that I would not join any political party or secret society whatsoever.
I did that, and I am proud of all the colleagues who went before me, and who came after me, for being steadfast in the face of all things that were thrown before us.
That is the very reason that a problem arises for me with Sinn Fein presidential candidate Martin McGuinness.
When Mr McGuinness states that he became a member of the Irish Republican Army, he too took an oath of allegiance to that force, which at the time was a proscribed organisation in this State. It still remains so.
Martin McGuinness took an oath of of allegiance to the contents of what the IRA call 'The Green Book'.
This document refers to the Dail, the Defence Forces and the Garda Siochana as "domestic collaborators".
When McGuinness took his oath or declaration of allegiance, he stated: "I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority or power within Ireland hostile or inimical to that Republic".
Martin McGuinness believes, as do all his IRA associates, that he is a direct heir to the pre-1921 Treaty assemblies.
The oath he swore denounces the existence of our State and Constitution. He has been asked about this and, as usual, he gave an evasive reply. He said it was all so long ago he could not remember what was in the oath he swore to the IRA. That may be so, but this is a truth he cannot avoid: if he swore allegiance to the IRA, he swore opposition to our Constitution.
If he swore opposition to our Constitution, he cannot be
president unless he forswears his IRA oath. Forswearing an oath to the IRA would not be something he would be likely to have forgotten -- if he ever did.
Unless he forswore his IRA oath -- and publicly states he has done so -- then he cannot be a legitimate candidate for the presidency of Ireland.
He must make this clear.
In my view, he is disbarred under our Constitution from being president.
PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years' experience policing serious crime