Senior Gardaí Strongly Recommend Use Of Ministerial Cars

Senior gardaí are to recommend to present Government that the system of providing Cabinet Ministers with State cars, driven by their members, be fully maintained. This decision is in light of the paint attack on Minister for Health, Mary Harney, and they further believe that such attacks are indicative of major public anger at the present Government .

The issue was discussed yesterday, at a meeting of Chief Superintendents, at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary. This meeting is held every six months to enable senior officers to discuss past and future Garda strategies.

Senior officers believe the current ministerial fleet arrangements should be maintained in the interests of protecting Ministers from robust protest, or attack, expected particularly after the forthcoming December budget.

Ministerial Mercedes S350

Senior gardaí are also not in favour of a Ministerial car pooling system, which was suggested by the Minister for the Environment, TD John Gormley.

They believe no steps should be taken that would weaken the security afforded by armed gardaí that drive the ministerial fleet, particularly at a time of growing public anger over the recession. These gardaí who drive ministerial cars are always trained armed detectives who double as Ministerial bodyguards.

Soon to retire, Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy will now convey the opinions of his senior officers, on this matter, to Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, latter who admits to using his own car at weekends without a garda driver. Do we now have to insist  that Dermot Ahern use his Ministerial car and driver, and what about TD’s without Ministerial cars, must they now live without security and in fear of attack by angry mobs?

Recent public debate on the ministerial fleet focuses on the €11 million cost encurred over the past two years at a time of massive strain on public finances.

What is not known is if the matter of using trained army personnel to replace gardaí was discussed, releasing trained garda personnel to investigate the number of daily drug related gang killings and other serious crime committed against the ordinary tax paying citizen.

Ministerial cars, as we know them today, were not introduced until after the murder of 35 year old Irish Minister for Justice, Kevin O’Higgins, as he made his way to Mass, on Booterstown Avenue in Dublin. This murder was undertaken by three Anti Treaty members of the IRA in 1927, namely Timothy Coughlin, Bill Gannon and Archie Doyle, who were never apprehended for this crime because of an IRA Amnesty. The killing was in personal revenge for O’Higgins part in the executions of 77 IRA men during the civil war.

At that point, the Defence Forces insisted that senior Ministers of State should, understandably, travel by Armoured car, guarded by an armed escort.

Today Government Ministers must have a fuel guzzling Mercedes Benz together with garda drivers on call at a moments notice, to ferry them around like rock stars, under the guise of security. If security be the issue and I greatly doubt it, why not use the army again. Armed soldiers appear to do a great job securing our bank’s money, while also escorted by a police car with two uniformed unarmed garda officers in tow. Readers will forgive my apparent ignorance (You see I don’t get out much) and maybe can even enlighten me as to why we need both for bank escort duty.

Should we insist, now, in the interest of security, on replacing the Ministerial Mercedes Benz fleet with Armoured Cars loaned by the Irish army and supported by armed soldiers, thus ensuring that the gardaí can freely go about tackling serious crime, while still ensuring our Government remain safe while carrying out their duties?

When I think about security, I am reminded of a yarn about a Co.Roscommon Priest. The priest came to Dublin, four times a year, for church related meetings. He always, for convenience, parked his car in a PMPA car park on each visit and was approached on these visits by a guy who promised to keep an eye on his vehicle in return for a small monetary contribution. However, despite this promised personal security, three times in a row the priest returned to find his vehicle had been broken into and his car radio removed. On his next visit he decided to take extra precautions by bringing along his pet Alsatian dog, which had a natural in built dislike of all strangers. When approached by this guy, again offering to keep an eye on his car, the priest invited the individual to approach the said vehicle. On doing so the dog turned savage, baring his teeth and attempting to come through the window at the stranger.
Do you think I need security for my car now” asked the priest, grinning.
Jesus Father, isn’t that dog just fantastic, now tell me Father would he be able to put out a fire” replied the helpful self appointed security man.

Still sure “Isn’t a nod as good as a wink to a blind ass”, if you get my drift and boy do we appear to have a lot of blind asses in this country presently. Wonder was overtime a factor in this decision?.


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