Garda rep statement ‘shockingly inappropriate’ – TD

Staff Reporter

Independent TD Mattie McGrath (pictured) has said that a Garda Representative Association statement which has called for a ‘yes’ vote in the same-sex marriage referendum is almost unparalleled in its politicisation of the Gardaí.

Deputy McGrath made his comments as the association general secretary PJ Stone implied that those who vote no are motivated by prejudice and an unwillingness to further the aims of the 1916 Proclamation.

“The language chosen by the garda association is almost visceral in its contempt for those members of our society who will be voting and advocating a ‘no’ vote.

“It has opened up an enormous difficulty in terms of diminishing the publics’ vital need to see the Gardaí as an apolitical and neutral body.
This statement is nothing less than a direct intervention that borders on a constitutional crisis,” Mr McGrath said.

The Independent TD said the GRA intervention “characterises the ‘no’ campaign as essentially being the agents of discrimination, which in itself is incredibly offensive and misleading”.

He said it has “set a profoundly disturbing precedent, the implications of which cannot be underestimated”.

“Imagine if the garda association came out and described the ‘yes’ campaign as bigoted, discriminatory and unpatriotic; the accusations of political policing would be shouted from the rooftops,” Deputy McGrath said.