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Garda body demands apology over 'ill-informed and elitist' remarks about policing of Quinn violence

Michael D’Arcy made the comments on RTÉ yesterday afternoon.

Michael D'Arcy: said gardaí should have ensured attacks on QIH directors didn't happen
Michael D'Arcy: said gardaí should have ensured attacks on QIH directors didn't happen
Image: RTÉ

THE GARDA Representative Association (GRA) has called for an apology from Minister of State Michael D’Arcy for comments he made about the garda response to threats to Quinn Industrial Holdings executives.

The association’s president Jim Mulligan described comments made by D’Arcy on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics yesterday as “ill-informed” and “shockingly elitist”.

Speaking yesterday, the Fine Gael minister said the campaign of intimidation faced by QIH directors was not down to a lack of garda resources, and that director Kevin Lunney and others were “let down” by gardaí and not the government.

“The Taoiseach shouldn’t have to get involved, or the Minister for Justice or the Garda Commissioner,” D’Arcy said.

“There are senior gardaí in those divisions in those area who let those gentlemen down. I don’t believe it’s a matter of resources when you have criminology of that high-level nature. It’s not a question of resources.”

Responding this morning, Mulligan said the comments were an attempt by the junior minister to shift blame for policing the Cavan/Monaghan border from politicians.

“Mr D’Arcy absolves the people who allocate funding and determine resources of any blame, while the people who risk their lives on the ground with insufficient resources are, according to the Minister, at fault,” he said.

“These comments are not just chronically ill-informed; they are shockingly elitist. It’s like blaming bank clerks for the bank crash.”

Mulligan noted that both Minster for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris had distanced themselves from D’Arcy’s comments, which he said showed how inappropriate they were.

“Minister D’Arcy’s comments could be dismissed as just nonsense but for the fact that it is disheartening for members to hear such baseless criticism – especially when they are trying to police such a volatile and violent situation,” he added. 

Mulligan’s call for an apology follows a meeting between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and five directors of the Quinn Industrial Holdings group yesterday.

Varadkar said that he thanked the directors for their “courage and determination”, and that he thanked Kevin Lunney specifically for the resilience he has shown since his “barbaric abduction, assault and torture”.

Lunney was savagely assaulted and tortured before being left at the side of the road at Drumcoughill, Cornafean in Co Cavan on 23 September.

The incident was far from an isolated one and comes as part of a a long-running and brutal campaign of intimidation.

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