Minister gets the cold shoulder

THE Louth division of the Garda Representative Association has a motion before the GRA’s central executive committee that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter should not be invited to the association’s annual conference.

THE Louth division of the Garda Representative Association has a motion before the GRA’s central executive committee that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter should not be invited to the association’s annual conference.

The motion was passed by the Louth division before the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe.

The GRA will also discuss a motion proposing that its negotiators withdraw from the Croke Park agreement talks on the proposed cuts to allowances and overtime which the Government has proposed.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has already withdrawn from the talks.

Last week, as gardai came to Dundalk for the funeral of Garda Donohoe, there were rumours that the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had been welcomed at the home of the murdered Garda.

The Minister did not visit the family home at Lordship, but a Department of Justice statement said: “The minister is unaware of what is stated and has no comment to make on it. He wishes to emphasise that he believes the family of the late Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe are entitled to respect, privacy and consideration to deal with and come to terms with the tragic loss that they have suffered.”

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe’s widow Caroline, who is a garda officer based in Dundalk, is understood not to have been interested in meeting the minister, who hopes to visit the family at a later time.

As stations close in the border region and around the country, and the Government looks for E60m euro in garda paycuts, rank-and-file members of the force feel they are being robbed of the resources to defeat the ruthless criminal gangs operating in the country at the present time.

Meanwhile, former Garda Assistant Commissioner Martin Donnellan, who was awarded a Scott medal for bravery, has said morale in the Garda Siochana has never been so low.

Writing in the Sunday Independent, Mr Donnellan said the homily given by Fr Michael Cusack was accurate: “Fr Michael Cusack hit the nail on the head on Wednesday when he spoke of the terrible crimes inflicted on our elderly citizens and of the fear they live in”.

“I am a native of Ballymoe, county Galway, and there were two elderly men beaten up in their home between Ballymoe and Williamstown two months ago.

“The failure to provide the gardai with the proper tools to do their job is a failure of government. But some of the language used by our politicians and by garda management in the aftermath of the murder of Det Gda Donohoe did not impress me personally and not, I believe, members of the Garda.”

“Families of gardai are terrified of what is going to happen when they go on duty.”