Water protests - Unit politicising the gardaí

THE creation of a 25-strong Garda unit in Cork City, specifically with the aim of ensuring water protests do not turn violent, is a blatant example of politicisation of the gardaí.

It defies credulity, following the closure of hundreds of garda stations up and down the country, that such a unit has already been formed, especially when people everywhere are crying out for the men and women in blue to become more visible on the beat. Furthermore, while a spokesman for the GRA, the equivalent of a Garda trade union, could understand the need for such a unit, he warned that garda numbers were so depleted, it would take even more gardaí off the beat.

The fact that protests in Cork City have, by-and-large, been relatively timid affairs, at least compared to Dublin where violence has broken out in some areas, makes the thinking behind this move even harder to understand. If anything, according to protestors against the installation of water meters, the garda presence can sometimes add to the tension, effectively turning a peaceful demonstration into a flashpoint.

By any yardstick, the manpower involved in this new unit, which became operational in recent days and is made up of 20 gardaí, four sergeants and an inspector, represents a costly affair. Arguably, the money could be better spent patrolling urban areas prone to burgling. With a general election looming, obviously real politic makes the sight of protesters on the streets anathema to this shameless government.

More on this topic

Irish Water delays plan to charge for excessive usageIrish Water delays plan to charge for excessive usage

Boil water notice affecting 6,500 people in Cork Boil water notice affecting 6,500 people in Cork

Irish Water warned about failing filters in Leixlip plant in 2014Irish Water warned about failing filters in Leixlip plant in 2014

Irish Water's plans to charge for wasted water on hold until 2022Irish Water's plans to charge for wasted water on hold until 2022


Lifestyle

This week's food news with Joe McNammee.The Menu: Quick nibbles; International Women's Day; The People's Choice

With spring around the corner, it’s the perfect time to treat your home to a detox. Gabrielle Fagan taps up the Topology design gurus for tips.How to make your home calmer and less cluttered in 7 simple steps

From Bermuda shorts to romantic white dresses, Prudence Wade looks at the styles you’ll want to wear this season.7 of the biggest spring fashion trends fresh off the catwalk

If your car has been affected by the weather, read on for tips on what to do next.Dude my car is flooded-what should I do?

More From The Irish Examiner