Security forces too vulnerable: Match resources with obligations

Franklin D Roosevelt and Roy Keane may not have an immediate affinity but each is famous for a phrase all too applicable to how our defence and police forces have, for whatever reason, been undermined by being unable to match obligation with resources. 

Roosevelt warned that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself” while Keane often warns, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.

Are we right to fear that those we depend on to ensure state security, to uphold the rule of law are underprepared? 

The re-emergence of a tiny, unhinged New IRA and the possibility of a post-Brexit hard border; the discovery of arms dumps, including Semtex, in Louth; gangs specialising in ATM robberies; a feud in Drogheda between two volatile gangs and the permanent menace of ever-more forceful drug gangs and much more suggest we are going to a gunfight with a knife.

These issues were aired when the Garda Representative Association conference opened in Killarney yesterday. 

They will be highlighted again when defence force veterans parade in Cork this weekend over conditions that, they contend, are undermining the defence force capabilities.

It would be nice to live in a world where it was not necessary to contemplate the need for a robust police or defence service but we, as so many events prove, do not. 

This self-inflicted vulnerability must be quickly reversed — especially as Keane’s warning is more relevant every day.

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