Protecting politicians at heart of democracy

AS tributes continue to pour in from around the world following the tragic death of Labour MP Jo Cox, the police in Britain and presumably the gardaí here are grappling with the question of how they can improve the security of politicians in the front line of democracy.

The profoundly sad and untimely death of the fledgling MP, one of the brightest young stars in the political firmament and a seasoned human rights activist, brings home to us all just how vulnerable are those we elect to represent us in parliament.

In this country, the traditional way has always been for TDs to mingle freely and comfortably, face to face with the public at large. And yet, in recent times we had the alarming spectacle of the car in which former Tánaiste Joan Burton was travelling, being blocked and rocked by an unruly mob of water protestors. Ms Burton had to be rescued by the gardaí.

This extreme act of violence against an MP, brings a poignant and bloody end to a bloody week around the globe. A week which also saw the worst slaughter in recent American history when 49 people were killed by a lone gunman in a gay club at Orlando, Florida, followed by the murder of a French policeman and his wife at their home near Paris.

Protecting our politicians and every citizen against those who carry out such acts goes to the heart of democracy; a fragile, yet robust and very precious flower.


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