herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

PJ Browne: TDs have made our gardai into second class citizens

I READ with incredulity that a Fine Gael TD abused a female garda at Dail Eireann at 1am.

Before reading on, I asked myself what idiot did such a stupid thing and wondered if he was drunk or had a health problem of the mind.

I discovered that this female garda was allegedly threatened and told that she would never get anything from Fine Gael when they were returned to power.

Deputy PJ Sheehan was the aggressor, I read, and he was driving a car with no lights on, and he was drunk. Is this what we have representing us and is this the reason the country is on its knees? Could you imaging if this officer had ignored your drunken driving and you were allowed out on the street and struck an innocent person causing injury or even death? There would have been uproar that the garda did not do her job.

Sheehan's behaviour has raised serious questions for the future Messiah, Enda Kenny. What did he mean by allegedly telling the sergeant on duty that she should 'ignore' the abuse? Did he mean that it should be hushed up and swept under the carpet?

What action did Kenny take against Sheehan? Did he admonish him for his abusive manner and tell him that it should never occur again or he would be suspended from the party? He seems to have resigned his frontbench position of his own volition. Either way, this matter paints a future Taoiseach in a very detrimental light and asks questions about his ability to take over the mantle of leadership of the country.

And the matter raises further questions, beyond those of a gombeen TD attempting to get home from the Dail bar. Issues I have personal experience of.

While working at Pearse Street Garda Station, I remember when one of my detective inspectors was summoned to that bar after a report that a wallet had been stolen. On visiting that secret area with the member, he himself was ordered to leave immediately by a certain usher. An Orange Lodge would be easier to get into.

I am not surprised by this type of behaviour, having witnessed countless examples of political shenanigans over the years.

Mea culpas do not come easy to politicians. Yet they have had plenty to apologise for.

This year the Herald revealed how Trevor Sargent wrote to an officer in Balbriggan about a constituent's case. Was Sargent hauled over the coals by detectives? No, but they went hunting for the whistleblower.

And mark my words the whistleblower in the Sheehan case will be hounded and brought to book while the politician holds his job, his paycheck and his generous pension. Plus ca change.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years experience of policing serious crime

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