Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

10:30 am

Photo of Labhrás Ó MurchúLabhrás Ó Murchú (Fianna Fail)

There is an evident connection between the controversial statements made at the Garda Representative Association conference and the carefully cultivated negative image of politicians. While Ireland undoubtedly can boast of one of the finest police forces in the world, at the same time the statements made yesterday bordered on anarchy. They were absolutely irresponsible and did no favours to the rank and file members of the force who put their lives on the line daily to protect the citizens. People throughout the world have endeavoured to get rid of dictatorships and replace them with democracy. Democracy has served this country particularly well but one certainly could be forgiven for believing that a trend exists at present whereby it could be replaced by an ever-aggressive media, which is highly worrying. When I refer to a connection between the two issues, I do not believe the statements made at the aforementioned conference would have been made in a different climate.

Consequently, we must reflect for a moment on whether this atmosphere has been created and whether a section of the media definitely is undermining the democratic structures of this country by having as targets people who genuinely entered public life to give service with the best intentions in the world. If such a development exists, it must be considered and I certainly would welcome a debate in this House. However, this would not be a debate in which Members would defend themselves as Members of this House or on a personal basis. Instead, it specifically would consider Members' role in this House while at the same time debating what should be the role of the media in a democracy.


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