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Useless laws in Ireland? Why only here?

Useless laws in Ireland? Why only here?

In some parts of Dublin, there is a problem with motorised youths on footpaths and in parks. They use quadbikes and small motorbikes (nicknamed “scramblers”) and in 2016 a total of 71 people got injured and in 2017, 62 people suffered injuries, Now I have to be honest and admit that I don’t really care about injuries to people that drive them. It is only injuries to people that are hit by them that count.

You would think that if an illegal vehicle is used (the quadbikes and motorbikes have no insurance and pay no tax), the gardai would make sure that the bikes will be impounded and the drivers will be charged and punished. You would think that! But that is not what is happening!

Instead it emerged this week that Gardai are told NOT to pursue quad bikes and it also emerged that Irish laws are not so clear on what a street is.

I can’t get my head around this: There are around 190 countries in this world and there are many countries (mainly in Europe) where the legal system is quite similar to the system in Ireland. If ANY one of these countries has effective laws and effective law enforcement in ANY area that Ireland can’t get under control, why do our lawmakers not just copy the laws that others have put in place?

We constantly hear of loop holes for drunken drivers. Now there is a problem with quadbikes and motorbikes and there are many other areas as well where the Irish laws are ineffective. Is it that our law makers are just not smart enough or why can’t they get it sorted?

Here is an example of a story that shows the ineffectiveness of laws and law enforcement.


Gardai taking revenge! But is it ok?

Gardai taking revenge! But is it ok?

The reported about a Tweet and its story on Thursday here: While Gardai were carrying our speed checks at the Limerick tunnel, a man drove by in the other direction and decided in his wisdom to beep and to make a “choice hand gesture”. (Whatever that is and more about that later!)

No matter what the guy did, it was stupid, childish and not justifiable in the slightest. He was clearly happy that the gardai didn’t get him, but you must be some sort of an idiot to react the way he did.

Being an idiot though, is not normally a punishable offence. But in this case, the gardai who did the speed check wanted revenge. They spent a “number of days” to identify the driver (using the camera recordings from the Limerick tunnel operator) and to issue him with a fine for “a combination of dangerous driving offences including not watching the road while travelling at high speeds”. EUR 80 and three points was the punishment. In addition they felt it was necessary to tweet about it here  and decided to add a “choice hand gesture” from the series Friends.

As I clearly said, the guy was an idiot. BUT we also know (or SHOULD know) that revenge is never a good motivator. In the same way as the driver should have just celebrated quietly that he wasn’t caught speeding, the gardai should have just called him an idiot and should then have continued with their work. Beeping and a hand gesture are NOT enough to spend days of work.

And the offence? I wouldn’t be surprised if a judge would remove the penalty if he went to court. If beeping and making a hand gesture is a dangerous driving offence, then EVERY driver should get a EUR 80 fine multiple times every day. So I am really not sure if the gardai in this case affirmed their moral superiority. Instead it seems as if they lowered themselves to the level of of idiot driver. Their “choice hand gesture” was in the tweet and it was no better than the drivers stupid reaction.

I am actually disappointed about the reaction of the gardai! Nobody should ever have to endure being insulted by idiots when they do what is part of of their job, but revenge is NOT what I would expect gardai to spend days of their work on.

(By the way: We can only guess that the driver was showing the middle finger because the term “choice hand gesture” is NOT a term that is anywhere defined. If you search for it on Google, you will find no explanation but you will find MANY links to media articles about the same event. It didn’t make much sense to use this term!)

Machine Pistols everywhere – But different consequences!

Machine Pistols everywhere – But different consequences!

There were two machine pistol-related articles in last week and there are two completely different consequences coming from the discovery of these guns.

The first article on Wednesday explained that a “member of the public” FOUND a fully-loaded submachine gun belonging to no other than the Garda Siochana. The gun was in a bag in the boot of an armed Garda unit car and it fell out of the car for currently still unknown reasons. The gun was luckily brought to Store Street Garda station and was handed in.

As a consequence of the incident, “A senior Garda officer has been appointed to examine all the circumstances relating to an incident involving an armed unit in Dublin city centre today.”

The second article on Friday described that also on Wednesday a car was stopped in Drogheda and the driver of the car had a large amount of prescription tablets. She was arrested and during a follow-on search a machine pistol and a ammunition were found in a parked car in Drogheda.

The consequence in this case is that the woman will be in court tomorrow and will be charged in connection with the discovery of the machine pistol.

The two stories have nothing to do with each other. In one case it was seemingly a criminal and/or dissident republican that had the gun and ammunition in the car to be used for illegal activities. In the other case it was the law enforcement authorities that had the pistol, but lost it.

Interestingly, though, both sides have very similar weapons and I would always prefer that the law enforcers have better and a lot more weapons than the criminals. The other interesting aspect is that a large part of the Gardai (is it still the majority?) are not armed at all, while the criminals have machine pistols in their cars. Is that a good situation? Me thinks: NO!

And the final aspect: Imagine that Garda machine pistol had been picked up by the “wrong” person. I’d say the Gardai didn’t even realise that it fell out of their car until MUCH later … with no idea where exactly it fell out. :-O Clearly machine pistols are popular in Ireland and finding one on the streets of Dublin is like winning the lottery for the right criminal.

About the consequences: Clearly the Gardai were authorised to have the gun, but the loss of it will hopefully have some consequences for the careless Gardai. And the woman in Drogheda? I wouldn’t be surprised if she will be released again “and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution”. If that happens you really have to wonder what a stupid legal system we have in Ireland.

Senior gardai will get honesty lessons!?

Senior gardai will get honesty lessons!?

Senior gardai will get honesty lessons!?

The gardai in Ireland were part of more scandals in recent years than they should have been. There was the corruption that was revealed by whistleblower Sergeant McCabe, then he was bullied and accused of a lot of things incorrectly. penalty points were deleted by gardai and more recently totally wrong and over-exaggerated number of alcohol tests on Irish roads were published.

The amount of scandals are seriously worrying and something has to be done about it. But it is shocking nevertheless to see that the solution is to give lessons about the nine points of the Garda Ethics Code.

The Garda Ethics Code was launched seven months ago by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and was described as a “as a beacon to guide ethical behaviour in An Garda Síochána for years to come”.

It is clearly an example of “whatever you do is wrong”, because if nothing was done about the problem we would all shake our heads and complain. But when something is done, we also shake our head and complain. …just for different reasons.

My biggest question is if anybody really thinks a “Code of Ethics” will make a difference. A good, honest and upstanding Garda will be exactly that (good, honest and upstanding) before and after the training and why would he need that training?? And a dodgy and dishonest garda will not suddenly out of the blue repent and turn his life around and become honest. So, is that Code of Ethics just a joke? Pretending to do something?

How did this make it into the news? The Office of Government Procurement is looking for a suitable provider who will give classes about the “Garda Code of Ethics” to 1000 gardai. That Code of Ethics is about upholding the laws, acting with honesty and integrity, speaking up and reporting any wrongdoing or corrupt, unethical or unprofessional behaviour of colleagues.

All topics seem to be exactly the traits that you expect as natural and minimum requirements for someone who is a gardai and it is not a good sign that all senior gardai need to be trained on it. It is also not a good sign that only the senior gardai will be trained. Is it expected that they will brief the rest OR are only senior gardai not honest YET OR is there no hope for the rest?

And why did it take seven months from launching this Code of Ethics until teaching the 1000 about it?

Quite odd this whole situation and definitely not what we would have thought our gardai to be.

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