Last Monday night, at 11:30 pm, a police inspector and a rookie walked into a quiet civilised Limerick pub, where music students from the university were playing a trad session.
They instructed the proprietor to be shut by midnight, warning they’d be back.
Imagine that. In a town where real crime exists, and where real criminals make their living, this police inspector considers it a good use of his time to wander around the quiet streets, breaking up trad sessions that timprove our quality of life, and enhance the image of the place where we live.
What’s more, his superiors consider it a good use of his time.
This little incident, in my opinion, says more about the failure of our police force than all the official inquiries that money can buy.
It speaks of a failure not only to grasp the nature of their job, but of an inability to set priorities and allocate resources. It speaks of a complete failure to imagine what effective policing could aspire to in a modern society.
It also speaks of cowardice, cynicism and stupidity, of an organisation content to go for the soft target and the easy mark.
But what could you expect from a police force whose members routinely plug their own laptops into the national crime database in the stations, and then bring them home for their children to use surfing the internet?
An Garda Síochána is broken. Like so many other institutions, I’m afraid our police force is managed and controlled by yesterday’s men with yesterday’s ideas.