There was a long-standing tradition in coastal communities that those who go down to the sea to work in boats did not learn to swim.
This fisherman’s fatalism was based on the belief if the boat went down, struggle was pointless as drowning was inevitable.
Could that idea be behind the fact that a majority of “frontline” gardaí are not qualified to drive cars using flashing lights and are precluded from responding to emergency calls?
No, that is not the reason — the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has warned that a failure to deliver basic training means that a huge number of gardaí are not able to do the job they are expected to do.
If this was not so serious it would be laughable.
Tragically, especially for the gardaí involved, this is another indication that our public service is a kind of parallel universe where managers don’t manage but where they face no consequences.
In a force of almost 14,000, the GRA’s John O’Keeffe suggests that fewer than 5,000 gardaí have had the relevant training. One in three.
Continuing the theme of dysfunction and denial,requests official figures from An Garda Síochána made on April 16 remain unanswered.
But there’s worse. Independent TD Tommy Broughan asked for figures through a Dáil question in June.
He repeated the request in July, September, and November but he has yet to receive the data.
Something has got to change.