'We can affirm the commitment of our members' - Garda body hit back at D'Arcy comments

The junior minister said the attack on Kevin Lunney should have been dealt with "sooner and better at that level" by senior gardaí.

'We can affirm the commitment of our members' - Garda body hit back at D'Arcy comments

The leaders of two organisations representing gardaí have described criticism of the garda investigation into attacks on Quinn Industrial Holdings by Minister of State Michael D’Arcy as unhelpful and called on him to apologise.

The President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Cormac Moylan told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland, that the commitment of AGSI members could not be questioned.

He said the AGSI has been on the record as querying the lack of resources in the border region, but welcomed the addition of additional resources such as a new armed support unit and 25 new recruits in Cavan-Monaghan.

On Sunday Minister of State with responsibility for financial services Michael D'Arcy said senior gardaí in the border region had "let down" the directors of the company.

Mr Moylan said AGSI members were fully committed to the investigation and called on the minister to clarify his comments.

We can affirm the commitment of our members, the members that we represent that are in that area, are absolutely committed to a successful outcome of this investigation.

"This is an ongoing investigation, the searches and everything else that took place - they didn't happen overnight they've been a long time in the offing.

"We would say that what we've heard from our members they are absolutely committed to a successful conclusion."

Mr Moylan said he did not want to comment on an ongoing operation, but said he wanted to reaffirm the commitment of sergeants and inspectors in the area to a successful outcome.

The President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) Jim Mulligan also called for Mr D'Arcy to apologise for his comments.

The Minister’s comments were “not just chronically ill-informed, they are shockingly elitist. It's like blaming bank clerks for the bank crash," he said.

Later on RTÉ radio’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan show, the GRA's representative for the Cavan-Monaghan division, James Morris-Rowe said the comments by Mr D'Arcy were an "insult" and called on him to apologise.

He said his colleagues felt let down by Mr D'Arcy's comments.

I'd simply call on the minister to apologise to the frontline members he alluded to on the ground, and maybe to publicly clarify his comments.

"I think his comments were ill-informed and maybe made without an understanding about the issues that we are dealing with.”

Meanwhile, Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) executive John McCartin has said that resolve is still needed to find the ‘paymaster’ behind the campaign of intimidation against the company.

John McCartin
John McCartin

“We did have sustained attacks against us, there were a number of incidents that were allowed go unchecked – the incitement to hatred at a public meeting, the posters defaming us and face to face threats,” he said.

“There is still a lot of risk to every activity and there are indications that this campaign of intimidation is not over."

Earlier: Garda body seeks apology from Michael D'Arcy for comments that gardaí left Quinn directors down

The Garda Representative Association is calling on the Minister of State Michael D'Arcy to apologise for his comments on policing in the border region.

Over the weekend, Minister D'Arcy said Quinn Industrial Holdings had been let down by gardaí in the area.

The junior minister told RTÉ's The Week in Politics that the attack on Kevin Lunney should have been dealt with "sooner and better at that level" by senior gardaí.

He added: "There are senior gardaí, in those divisions, in those areas, who let those gentlemen down".

He said that it was "very clear" the QIH directors were disappointed, adding: "The disappointment was on the ground, in relation to the policing that happened."

The GRA says these comments are ill-informed, elitist, and disheartening for officers on the ground.

President of the association Jim Mulligan said frontline gardaí felt insulted at Minister D'Arcy's comments.

He said: "It was a shock, particularly to our membership in the area concerned. They're quite disheartened to hear that from a Minister for State.

"We're asking for him to apologise for what he said about the members on the ground in that area. They are dealing with a very violent situation up there. They are trying to police that area as best they can with the resources they have."

He added: “Mr D’Arcy absolves the people who allocate funding and determine resources of any blame, while the people who risk their lives on the ground with insufficient resources are, according to the Minister, at fault.

“These comments are not just chronically ill-informed; they are shockingly elitist. It’s like blaming bank clerks for the bank crash.

“The GRA has repeatedly raised the issue of under-resourcing on the border. The recent and welcome announcement of 45 new personnel and establishment of a new Armed Support Unit in Cavan Town proves our point.

“Indeed, the Minster for Justice and the Garda Commissioner have already distanced themselves from Minster D’Arcy’s comments, which shows just how inappropriate they were.

“Minister D’Arcy’s comments could be dismissed as just nonsense but for the fact that it is disheartening for members to hear such baseless criticism – especially when they are trying to police such a volatile and violent situation.

“Minister D’Arcy must withdraw his comments and apologise immediately,” Mr Mulligan added.

- Additional reporting Digital Desk

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