So a Dublin jury has declared innocent the four Gardaí who, and these facts were uncontested, rendezvoused on the night of Feb. 17, 2008 with the intention of entering the Gaffney home. This they proceeded to do, and whatever happened in the Gaffney home they sure were not having a friendly chat. When they decided it was time to leave, they had not arrested, or even cautioned, any one despite evidence from them that Owen Gaffney had “been very violent” and had spat at them. What saintly forbearance they showed.
Ownen Gaffney and others in our lumpen proletariat have many disadvantages; accent, education or lack of, address, their attitude towards others, others’ attitude towards them, but the greatest disadvantage is that they are white. If they were any shade of black or brown the discrimination would be so obvious as to be unacceptable. If our underclass were black, terms like scumbag, skanger, chav, knacker, would not be acceptable, and Gardaí would not feel entitled to enter a home without a search warrant no matter where or to whom that home belonged.
If young Gaffney was black the papers and airwaves would now be full of angst-ridden opinion pieces wondering if we were living in 1920’s Alabama or 2010’s Dublin.
But as the in vogue phrase goes, we are where we are. Our lumpen class is white, Contempt for them is socially acceptable. Perjury and state violence is considered a legitimate tactic of social control by many in the Garda and very many in the general population, and so we have this travesty of a verdict.
As one who faced a very serious and very elaborate, though ultimately unsuccessful attempt to frame me back in the early 1980’s (judge to jury “I hope there is no danger of you finding this man guilty”) and who saw first hand the ease with which many Gardaí especially seasoned and middle ranking Gardaí lie under oath I can tell you it takes an effort to recognize that not all Gardaí are corrupt.
But honest and courageous Gardaí do exist, one of my aquatintances is a pillar of his Church and would die I reckon before committing perjury. He is kept well away from the streets. The safety check which having a large percent of honest Gardaí out on the street would be, is diluted, I believe, by placing those unwilling to turn a blind eye to fellow members bending and breaking the law, behind desks, in administrative positions. Best keep them far away from any temptation to buck the “all in this together” culture.
This I believe also lies behind the refusal to allow members of the Sikh religion to wear turbans as part of their Garda uniform. The few Sikhs that I have met seem to me to be an upstanding group of people. Their religion is tolerant and enlightened and if they take it seriously enough to never cut their hair and wear a turban I suspect they would take it seriously enough not to lie.
The awful truth is, that may make them unwelcome in the Garda Síochána.