Credit: Gardai Info Via Twitter

Drew Harris’s sinister blabber

It was a banner few days for sinister developments in Ireland.

On Friday, the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána sombrely announced that his force was “monitoring” protests in relation to asylum accommodation in Dublin, citing his fears that some involved have a “sinister agenda”.

It would be helpful, in all honesty, if the Commissioner had spelled out what this “sinister agenda” is.

Perhaps then the public could make a decision about whether “sinister” is the correct adjective. But of course, the Garda Commissioner could never do such a thing: His statement would be much less impactful, and might even be counterproductive, were he to say “some of these people have a sinister agenda to tighten controls at the border and deny asylum claims to those who present themselves with no travel papers”.

That agenda might not be seen as sinister, but popular. Therefore, it cannot be actually spelled out. You get an adjective, not facts. Instead of being told what these people actually want, you are told by a serious looking chap in a uniform to fear them, and to not consider their arguments.

In any case, though this apparently comes as news to the Garda Commissioner, having a “sinister agenda” is not in and of itself a crime. Were it, for example, your life-long ambition to abolish democracy and install yourself as King, then that is an agenda that might fairly be described as “sinister”. But so long as you were to pursue that goal democratically, and without violence, it is not criminal. Preventing you or me from gaining power is the job of the voters, not the Gardai. That is true, too, of those who seek a change in immigration policy: It is for the voters to stop them, or empower them. Not Drew Harris.

Perhaps one might argue that the Gardai should spend more time on genuine crimes, rather than sinister agendas: After all, on the very same day that the Commissioner was committing resources to monitor sinister protests, Dublin Bus drivers were refusing to enter parts of Tallaght, because the crime levels there now pose a threat, in their estimation, to their personal safety. Actual crimes, it seems, are a much less pressing threat to the security of the state than the existence of “sinister” opinions in relation to immigration amongst some of the public.

On the same day that the Garda Commissioner was warning about sinister agendas, the Labour TD, Aodhán O’Riordáin, shared a tweet about Gript media, which said that the “sole aim” of this media outlet is “to promote racism and homophobia”. Readers are, of course, free to peruse this article, or any other, and see whether there is truth in that accusation. The next day, the Irish Times ran an article by Conor Gallagher, reporting as news that “Ireland’s far-right is mobilising, and they are coming to a town near you.”

Talk about a sinister agenda of spreading fear, eh?

But spreading fear and hatred, you see, is not to be considered, at least in Ireland, a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, the Irish establishment are past masters at it: It is not that long, after all, since every media organ and state funded political party in Ireland was warning you about the danger posed to your health and wellbeing by your unvaccinated neighbours, who were so riven with disease and illness and pestilence that they could not even be admitted to buildings unless they proved that they had given up their resistance to complying with public health advice.

It is not very long, either, since we had a national campaign in the aftermath of a murder to spread fear about male violence, and suggest that every young man in Ireland is a threat to women who might well need re-education.

And then, of course, there is the constant threat of the “far right”, people so dangerous and pestilent and sinister that they may not ever even be interviewed on television or radio so that you might judge their opinions and views for themselves. You must simply believe as a matter of fact that they are out there, and they’re coming for blessed Ireland.

It’s important, I think, in this job, to remain somewhat balanced and measured in one’s commentary. That said, if you are one of the growing number of people who sees this endless self-serving panic and hysteria as utterly contemptible, not to mention mortifying, then be assured: You are not alone.

But it will not stop, and there are no limits to how far it will go. As I wrote last week, already the state and its wholly funded political parties are mobilising not simply to oppose protests over immigration, but to crush them. In fact, the very day after I published that piece, we got the Garda commissioner making his dire warning about sinister elements and the need for monitoring. That same day Aodhán, that prince amongst dunces, warned that reading Gript might make you a racist homophobe.

He would, it seems, prefer that everyone stick with the Irish Times, and stories about the far right coming to a town near you.

But what they don’t want you to know, these people, with their “sinisters” and their constant accusations of igotrys and isms and phobias, is that the public anger they fear is not directed at refugees. This country has never had a problem accommodating genuine refugees, or doing our part to help those in need.

No, the anger of the “far right” is directed at them. At the establishment which has given us a housing crisis, and a place where bus drivers feel unsafe going to Tallaght. And where genuine refugees are treated the same as fellas who arrive from Greece and rip their documents up on the plane and then demand a hotel room. And where there are no hospital beds free, and where personal taxes, despite all these failings, are amongst the highest in Europe.

So, let them continue with their “sinister” blabber. All the blabber in the world won’t save them, in the long run, from the waning patience of a public that has tolerated them for decades too long.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you favour HAVING a referendum to insert a right to housing into the constitution?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...