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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Indebted Gardai

Many Gardai, yet again, want to be treated like a special force, or in this case, a special case; at least those who thought they were developers or wanted an opulent house way beyond their means. Now, unlike the rest of people who became indebted in this country, they want their anonymity preserved as well and for what?

It is not a crime to be in debt, though sometimes it can feel that way, and nothing to be ashamed of even though this is often the emotion that stalks it. Many people feel like going undercover itself just to collect the dole such is the overwhelming feeling of shame. At least in a more positive light, a policeman, even an undercover one, has a job that pays well, one that is secure, and can formulate a working plan to combat his indebtedness. This is in direct contrast to those genuinely signing on the dole, with no prospects and no hope of rising above their situation unless they lose everything and start from scratch. And scratching it will be. No easy task if you are facing into your 40’s or 50’s or indeed 60’s. 

It is no surprise to many that the biggest category of debtors in this country are Gardai.  They cannot be put in prison because of debt alone but to fraud in regard to it, even though that is also almost unheard of (sound of laughter and mirth at this point) in this country unless of course you do not pay your TV license and are anything but a Gardai. But many Gardai want to be privileged debtors now as well in an already privileged position brimming with benefits.

The core reason given by one 'undercover policeman' to remain anonymous is that he/she/they will not be able to remain undercover. He may be getting fake news for he must be thinking they are going to put his mugshot, replete with serial number, all over the media. Are they no other jobs in the Police force for these guys? But his real reason is more apparent in that he is not supposed to be insolvent or bankrupt in the first place in order to remain on the force. So, by lobbying the Government to be treated as a special case, he or they, are trying to make the State complicit in a cover up, and until the law is changed, this will be for now illegal at least. This is nothing new in Ireland. The drip feed controversy of how the police and government treat whistleblowers in the force leave no room for doubt as to how those who strive to expose corruption within it are and will be treated. There is one law for a single person at the best of times and rarely for everyone as a whole; just depends on circumstance and connections. A stud and status quo yet to be broken.

The former Department Of Justice, Alan Shatter, when running his own personal fiefdom had already heralded where they were heading with this one: “In a very exceptional and individual situation, a debtor should contact the Insolvency Service Of Ireland (ISI) which will consider each case to see if any solution can be found.” This is all very well but the most they can do is lobby to have the law changed for as it stands now it is justice for all but in principle only. This will change one way or the other.

That principle can be easily compromised as it has before had Shatter and his department along with the collusion of the ISI and the Gardai, made up their own laws as they went along, and let the taxpayer bleed in trying to restore law and order once again through the draconian and slow legal system we have here. It is not an accident; it is designed this way to forestall justice by time itself.

For an eternal optimist, I do not hold out much hope for the taxpayer on this one until we are all well and truly bankrupt as a nation itself.

Barry Clifford