Thursday, 23rd November 2017
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A Fair Cop

Who would be involved in the running of policing these days? If you are American then you'll just be after receiving a very curt notice of dismissal followed up by a flurry of tweets by your boss. If you are in Ireland then you'll be said to be behind a 'conveyor belt of scandals' and have your every move scrutinised, picked over and criticised by nearly every politician in the land, not to mention what the newspapers have to say about everything that is going on. The worst part of it for Nóirín O'Sullivan is that a lot of what is going on goes back to a time when she wasn't really in any position of authority in the police force and therefore can't really be said to be ultimately responsible.

What is understandable is that she is being used as a political football between some of the parties in the Dáil who are trying to make capital out of everything that is going on with all of the revelations in the various committees looking into the irregularities in the policing world. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do them.

It is very easy at the moment to score points out of Nóirín O'Sullivan and all the tribulations that are happening to her but it doesn't mean that they have any intrinsic merit other than making for good headlines. Also it is an easy sport to continuously take pot shots at the Government over their continued support of O'Sullivan but if any of the other political parties were in the same position they would be doing the exact same thing. Any Government would have to back someone, particularly someone in such a sensitive position, before any final judgment were brought in against them. And that is the real point of what is going on here at the moment, there might be a lot of allegations floating around but there has been no definitive judgments pointing in O’Sullivan’s direction as yet.

It is no wonder that the Government are still supporting her. All positions in the land should never, ever be outside the purview of the State but there are some that should maintain as much independence as possible and one of them is the Chief of Police.

It is easy to make political capital at the moment, and in particular when another phone tapping scandal is about to break, but it doesn't mean that the Government has to cave into pressure over them. It is a convenient issue with which to criticize the Government but you have to also look as to why certain political parties are doing this and to what ends.

Maybe all of this will end up in O'Sullivan’s resignation but for the moment there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment particularly when there hasn't been any judgment made as yet.

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