The fallout continues

While the primary responsibility for the riots obviously lies with the rioters, it's clear that Saturday was a fuck-up of massive proportions on the part of the Gardaí. Why didn't their intelligence pick up what the dogs in the street knew?

It seems they were talking to the wrong dogs.

Think about it for a minute. In any other European country, whenever there's the potential for crowd trouble, who are the first people the police look out for? The football hooligans, that's who. And in fact, those of us who regularly attend League of Ireland matches have recognised a number of familiar faces in Saturday's crowd shots. But the gardaí seem not to have pursued this angle at all. Why in God's name didn't they?

The fact is that the justice system here, all the way up to the Minister, are so obsessed with what they deem "subversives" that it often blinds them to what nonpolitical offenders are up to. This is how gangland criminals have been able to build up a huge arsenal under the Gardaí's noses, while Special Branch have occupied their time following around Sinn Féin election workers and beating up members of RSF's youth wing.

We in Sinn Féin complain a lot, and rightly so, about political policing in the north. But in some respects the south really isn't much better.

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