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Luke 'Ming' Flanagan during a recent address to the European Parliament

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan doubles down on statement calling An Garda Síochána ‘rotten to the core’

The MEP had been called on to retract the statement by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

LUKE ‘MING’ FLANAGAN has said he “has a right” to his opinion that An Garda Síochána is “rotten to the core”.

On X, formerly Twitter, the MEP reposted an article from The Ditch related to the guard at the centre of the ‘bike case’.

Earlier this month, the garda was cleared of any wrongdoing following a three-year suspension over giving the bicycle from a garda storeroom to an elderly man during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside reposting The Ditch article, Flanagan posted: “The Garda Síochána are rotten to the core.

“When nothing changed after Maurice McCabe, then all hope was lost.

“You’re not wanted in the Guards if you’re honest.”

The Maurice McCabe scandal related to the handling of a file containing a false allegation of child sexual abuse against Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

McCabe had been highlighting deficiencies within the penalty points system within An Garda Síochána, where fixed-charge notices were routinely cancelled.

In response to Flanagan’s post on X this week, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) called on Flanagan to retract his remarks.

It said the AGSI “wholly condemn comments by a sitting Irish MEP about Gardaí” and called for the comments to be retracted.

“Our public representatives should stand squarely behind our hard-working and committed members,” the statement added.

“To make a blanket statement like that is unfair and unnecessary.”

The AGSI added that there has been a “reaction of anger” among members and that comments such as these “are used to shore up support for an anti-Garda sentiment which has more dangerous and sinister consequences for members on the beat.”

The general secretary of the AGSI Antoinette Cunningham added that Flanagan’s comments were a “disgusting insult” to gardaí.

However, Flanagan told The Journal that the AGSI “shouldn’t shoot the messenger on this one”.

“What is disgusting and what is disgraceful is when people like Maurice McCabe couldn’t stay in the guards,” said Flanagan.

“It is my personal and professional experience that very, very little has changed. I really wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s the way I see it and I have a right to that opinion.”

Flanagan added that he is an elected representative and that “people who would have voted for me in any of the previous elections know I hold these opinions.”

He also said he holds these opinions “because I believe them to be true” and that what he has “seen and experienced has informed those opinions”.

Flanagan added: “What needs to change is not what I’m saying, the fact that what I’m saying is true needs to change.”

He also claimed that the AGSI statement is an “attempt to divert away from the fact that what is really dangerous is that many people out there feel that they cannot trust the gardaí because their experience in the past has been from bad to horrific”.

While Flanagan acknowledged that there are “many, many fantastic guards out there”, he compared the situation to a “minefield”.

“It’s bit like saying about a minefield, ‘sure the whole field isn’t covered in mines, go out for a walk and don’t complain, it isn’t all covered in mines’.

“How do you know where the mine is and how do you know where the grass is?

“That’s the problem for many people, that’s my experience, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to shoot the messenger on this one.”

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was last week criticised for saying all of the details regarding the garda who was suspended over giving an unclaimed bicycle to an elderly man were “not in the public domain”.

Harris told a Public Accounts Committee that he has “difficulty” in talking about the case because “there is only partial information that has been put into the public domain”.

The solicitor of the garda member at the centre of the case said these comments from Harris were “extraordinary”. 

Senior Counsel Damien Tansey said he has “absolutely no idea” what Harris was referring to and that the garda member was ”fully vindicated” after a “painstaking inquiry”.

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