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‘Slick’ Garda PR operation bounces back in their face


So, the new year starts in the Garda Press Office, what we like to call the Ministry of Truth, now what’ll we get our teeth into first? Well, it’d be great to dispel that persistently bad smell around our policing of the Corrib Gas Project for Shell now, wouldn’t it? Supt Gannon feeling a little bit of heat from the Garda Ombudsman, along with two Gardai being convicted of assault within the last few weeks, not to mention the fallout from the Murphy report; it’s time to put them all straight! We could try an interview in the Times, and a slot on the ridiculously sympathetic Pat Kenny Show with the recently retired Supt. McNamara as the star (as everyone knows, you cannot speak ill of the retired) – all sounds great! OK, so his comparison with the policing in Copenhagen was a bit ridiculous – even better than extensive abuses of human rights, ouch – but sure you can’t have everything.

Only it didn’t quite work out like that.

The headline in Thursday’s article in the Irish Times read “Gardai acted with impunity at Corrib site, says ex-Garda”. Now that wasn’t exactly the idea, was it?

Unfortunately AfrI Human Rights observer, and former Garda detective, Benny McCabe managed to get in a strong rebuttal of Supt. McNamara’s claims, and put him firmly back in his place. Saying things like “I have worked as a human rights observer with the UN, the EU and the OSCE in Cambodia, the Balkans, South Africa and in many post-conflict situations, but I have never been treated the way I was in Glengad in late June last year,” and the way that the Gardai act in Mayo is “anathema to the spirit of community policing” – none of this was part of the plan.

In fact, it makes them look pretty stupid, and seriously undermines them and their claims of ‘move along now, nothing to see here‘. That someone who’s been part of the force feels the need contradict their lies and show the real story up here – now that definitely wasn’t part of the script.

It must feel fairly bad that their attempt to retrieve the situation has actually succeeded in making it worse. What a pity. But then again, when you’ve nothing but lies to work with, it’s quite difficult.

As they say in Slovakia, you can’t make a whip out of shit.