Gerry O'Carroll: If only Little Dermo was half the bootboy he thinks he is
YOU may have got the impression that I'm no fan of Dermot Ahern.
Little Dermo is supposed to be our Minister for Justice.
Not that you'd know. He probably keeps a lower profile than Seanie FitzPatrick these days.
I guess that's no accident.
After all, drug crime is the only thing that appears to be flourishing and the gangs are picking each other off with impunity.
The only time you used to see Little Dermo was when a bunch of recruits were passing out in Templemore.
But even that's stopped now -- because there are no more trainees.
He turns up on telly the odd time with an unchallenged soundbite and no sign of him again for a few weeks.
No surprise that Little Dermo has a big ego, though.
The guy won't make Fianna Fail leader -- ever. But he likes to think he will be there to crown whoever takes over Brian Cowen's toxic chalice.
What gets my goat most of all about Ahern is that he tries to portray himself as a hardman.
He's happy to wallow in his image as the Government's bootboy. Would that this was the case.
He's no hard chaw. In fact, I think he's a wimp.
Take his latest publicity wheeze.
Little Dermo wants judges to stop jailing thugs and burglars.
Fancy that. The party which first got into power promising zero tolerance on crime is now taking a line softer than a bunch of social workers on a retreat.
No Dermo doesn't want thugs going to jail. He wants them painting old churches, picking weeds and clearing rubbish.
All very worthy indeed.
Except there is nobody around to see that the thugs actually carry out the work -- so in other words they won't work and they get off scot free.
How do I know this?
Well, the Probation Service, which supervises this kind of thing, is already overwhelmed and couldn't possibly cope with an extra workload.
It's like a never-ending amnesty for gurriers.
Even the Nordic countries and Holland be must laughing at our soft line on crime and criminals.
As for Dermot Ahern, well if you live in Co Louth, you'll get your chance to tell him what you think in a few months. With any luck this cretin will go the way of the previous loser in Justice -- built-to-bursting-point Mick McDowell.
I just hope Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny have somebody better in mind for this hugely important ministry.
Joe the Lionheart for Justice Minister
IF ONLY Dermot Ahern had the heart of a lion like Joe Duffy.
Joe wasn't afraid to take matters into his own hands when thieves stole his son's €400 bicycle in Clontarf.
As he says himself, he was in such a blind rage at their audacity that he took off after them. Even though they were 40 years his junior.
When he caught up with them, he challenged them head on. Despite an angry confrontation, he stood his ground and recovered his son's bike.
Not content with this, with the assistance of gardai, he managed to capture them. When his son asked him later why he chased the group even after recovering the bike, Joe said: "Society." I like his style.
But Joe did take a serious gamble.
Several have-a-go heroes have paid with their lives for taking on the thugs. With this in mind, I would urge others not to follow in the RTE presenter's footsteps. The danger is too great.
Joe himself admitted that he later realised the folly of his actions. Everyday, his programme speaks to victims of mindless violence.
No one is immune to it, not the vulnerable, elderly pensioners, not mentally impaired people, not even the blind.
Our streets are in the grip of an army of drug addicts, drunkards and petty thieves. Successive justice ministers have spoken about zero tolerance which is utter bunkum. Asbos have been a total failure.
That is why I commend Joe for refusing to bow to this insult.
I'm not suggesting that readers should put themselves in danger, but we must not allow ourselves to be terrorised by thugs and bullies.
But it makes you think, if only Joe was in charge of the lily livered Dept of Justice?
Caring Caroline is better off out of the cats' lair
Forgive me for paraphrasing the lyrics of the song Rhinestone Cowboy, but it's true "nice girls get washed away like the snow and the rain".
I'm speaking of course about Apprentice beauty Caroline McHugh, who has revealed the extent of the nasty behaviour among her fellow female candidates. A trained solicitor, Caroline came across on TV as a very personable individual, with qualities of real decency. She wasn't the type to want to win at all costs, and didn't engage in the back-stabbing like some of her opponents.
She didn't cut the mustard for Bill and Co, and was fired despite their admissions that it was an extremely difficult decision. I'm horrified to hear that she was the victim of such bitchiness. It's clear some of the contestants felt threatened by her charming manner. They vented their spleen by undermining her.
Caroline is learning all about the dog-eat-dog nature of the business world. Her only mistake in this process was to be herself, and in displaying her sunny nature she incurred the wrath of some calculating individuals. Caroline, it may seem like a cruel blow now, but you're better off out of the cats' lair.
Rebecca's family were failed by our courts
THE heartbroken loved ones of Rebecca French are in my prayers today as they struggle to deal with the fact that nobody will ever be charged with her murder.
On Monday, the murder charge against Lithuanians Ricardas Dilys and Ruslanas Mineikas was dropped after the prosecution entered a nolle prosequi. Both men pleaded guilty to disposing of and attempting to destroy Ms French's body. They, along with two other men who admitted the same offence, will be sentenced next month.
It would appear that statements taken from Dilys and Mineikas were not admissible as evidence because of a technicality regarding an issue of timing while they were in garda custody.
The Criminal Procedure Act of 2010 does allow for a retrial, yet none of the criteria apply in this case. Once again, the minutiae and technicalities in murder trials have proven to be a minefield.
Rebecca French suffered extreme violence. She was beaten over the head with a golf club and was kicked and stamped upon. In a final insult, her memory has been cruelly failed by the inadequacies of the justice system. It is a travesty that should never happen again.