Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Sam Boal Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath
# Finian McGrath
Garda representatives welcome withdrawal of McGrath's 'no basis' claims
Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath said there was an “agenda” in the gardaí to damage government.

THE GARDA REPRESENTATIVE Association has said Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath’s claims made around political policing at the weekend “have no basis” and welcomed the junior minister’s withdrawal of his comments. 

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, McGrath said that the implementation and policing of new drink driving laws had been “really over the top”. 

According to the paper, he said there was an “agenda” in the gardaí to damage government and called on Commissioner Drew Harris to “de-politicise” the force. 

“A police force – like teachers, nurses – guards should always be non-political,” McGrath said.

“I would like Drew Harris now, as part of the reforms we have, to de-politicise anything like that in a police force.”

Following the newspaper’s publication yesterday McGrath withdrew his comments, which he said were based on concerns raised with him over the past number of weeks. 

‘Absolutely unbelievable’ 

In a statement this morning, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said the withdrawal of McGrath’s “unwarranted charge of political policing” was “welcome and necessary.”

“Our members take their political independence very seriously and regard it as a key reason gardaí command such a high level of public support.”

“For clarification, gardaí carry out Mandatory Intoxication Test checkpoints (MITs) under management instruction in accordance with the Road Traffic Act and do not set up MIT checkpoints under their own recognizance.”

“The GRA welcomes Minister McGrath’s acknowledgement that his charges have no basis and will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.”

McGrath’s comments were also labelled as bewildering and bizarre” by his Cabinet colleague, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday while Junior Minister Patrick O’Donovan said it was “absolutely unbelievable that a Cabinet minister should suggest that the guards are politicised”.

Withdrawing his comments yesterday, McGrath said: “I am also happy to state that I have full confidence in An Garda Síochána and that I was wrong to suggest there was any element of politicising within the Force over the new drink driving regulations.”

The Independent Alliance – the political grouping of which McGrath is a member – also released a statement, welcoming his withdrawal of the comments.

“While every member of the Independent Alliance is entitled to voice their views, it is only right that Minister McGrath withdrew those remarks,” the IA said. 

“The Independent Alliance fully supports the implementation of new drink driving legislation by An Garda Síocahána and recognise the hard work of the Force on a daily basis in Ireland.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel