Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wasting Garda Time

The Sunday Independent’s lead story this week was a report about the abuse of state cars by prominent politicians, including the president. State cars with garda drivers are routinely used to drop children to school, do the weekly shopping, transport families to race meetings, collect pizzas etc etc.. Money is no object when it’s coming out of the public purse.

On Sam Smyth’s Sunday Supplement show on Today FM, Minister for Education Mary Hanafin explained that the role of the gardai is not primarily to drive govt ministers but rather to provide personal protection. She cited as justification the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh in September 2003, who was stabbed to death while out shopping alone.

It is very easy to get used to the trappings and privileges of power and politicians like Minister Hanafin will always be able to come up with glib answers to justify their own excesses. Mussolini was shot but I don’t think the lady wears a flak-jacket.

The use of state cars should be confined to state business and garda protection only provided to ministers with sensitive highly sensitive portfolios such as Justice. It would do ministers no harm at all to have to endure some of the daily grind the rest of us put up with.

No comments:

Blog Archive