Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Independent)

There is only one standard of law and it should apply everywhere on this island.

The second point I want to make is that the leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Micheál Martin, has advanced a view, with which I agree, that there must be a multi-agency approach to the Border situation and to what is and what is not happening there. The Revenue Commissioners, Army intelligence, Garda intelligence, the Garda and every force that is available North and South should be involved. Every security force and technique that available must be deployed.

The third point is that we cannot have a situation where industry is driven out of that area at the hands of people who are conducting such a campaign. How can that area possibly prosper and who in their right mind would invest in it if this kind of behaviour goes unchallenged? It is a challenge to the legitimacy of this State that such things were done to Kevin Lunney.It is a real failure on the part of our State that this was building up incrementally and it was not taken seriously.

We sometimes owe a lot to BBC Northern Ireland. That programme was phenomenally gripping and horrifying. I wish to say to those in Montrose that it sets a standard by which they will be judged. BBC Northern Ireland recently ran a series on the Troubles which should be compulsory viewing in every school in Ireland. They ran a different programme called "Pop Goes Northern Ireland", in which footage and pop music are shown intertwined together to show the banality of the evil that was perpetrated over so many years.

When I say there was a failure of policing, I am not recriminating. I saw Garda Commissioner Drew Harris in the footage the other night following his father's coffin as a young man. I am not throwing any personal barb at anybody in any sense. However, we depend on An Garda Síochána. Kevin Lunney and his colleagues depend on it. It cannot simply fail to act in response to a situation that has been going on for years, with vandalism, intimidation and the like.

Paul Quinn's mother said that every bone in his body was broken when he was beaten to death with baseball bats. His crime, apparently, was to give lip to a paramilitary in the neighbourhood. In Crossmaglen, there is still a "Sniper at Work" poster on a telephone pole. Either we are serious about the rule of law on this island or we are not. I do not want to make points against the Minister for Justice and Equality, but I want the Government to realise that the wave of horror that came out of that programme last night, which will be broadcast again tonight, calls for a response at least as strong as that which followed the death of Veronica Guerin.

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