PSNI GAA game – a step too far

Today’s Daily Ireland cover story features Joe Brolly (son of Francie and Anne) explaining why he has no problem with his GAA club playing the PSNI and, furthermore, why Sinn Féin should have no problem with it either.

I won’t attempt to speak for Sinn Féin on the matter, but I personally cannot accept Joe Brolly’s arguments. It’s too much, and too soon. Far too soon.

Of course, my own experience with the northern police has been limited. But it hasn’t been good. A few years ago I was on a bus travelling back from a Celtic game which (rather foolishly in retrospect) made a stop near the Park Centre Roundabout to let a passenger off. A few scumbags in Rangers tops set upon us and hurled a brick through one of our windows, fortunately not hitting anyone until it had bounced off an opposite wall, thus slowing down its trajectory. The brick landed at my feet and I picked it up – had anyone’s head been in its way, they would have been very lucky indeed to escape without serious brain damage.

At that point the bus driver did the sensible thing and drove off as quickly as possible, stopping in Newry to report the incident. Well, to try to report the incident, because as it happened the peelers only wanted to know one thing: Had we been drinking?

Now granted this is only one incident but frankly, when you walk into a police station holding a brick in your hand which has just been thrown through your window, and which very clearly could have caused you very serious injury or death, and the police show not even the slightest bit of concern, it really doesn’t do much for your opinion of them!

And there are plenty of recent events which lead me to suspect that this attitude persists. Take the arrest of Máire Nic an Bháird for speaking Irish, the collusion of the PSNI in the erection of loyalist flags in Lurgan, the Ballymena PSNI chief's disgraceful attempt to portray the Michael McIlveen murder as a tit-for-tat incident - I could go on. On the evidence available to me, the PSNI does not appear to be anywhere near sufficiently reformed for republicans to accept the kind of normalisation of relations that would allow this game to go ahead. It is, of course, the GAA's decision and not ours - but it's a decision I find disappointing.

I also question the wisdom of Daily Ireland highlighting, on its cover, a quote from Joe Brolly in which he used the term "black bastards". Of course most of us reading that would know what he meant, but in a multicultural country I think we need to pay a little more attention to how our words might be misinterpreted by newcomers here. I'm actually a bit surprised that this didn't occur to anyone at Daily Ireland.

2 comments:

Brainwashed said...

Wednesday

Welcome to the world of shite policing throughout the UK.

Fews years back I get bottled in the face. Copper takes me to hospital and then hints that he will be trying to arrest me for ABH!!!!

Nothing to do with religion or sectarianism, just rozzers being shit.

Wednesday said...

The police are shite everywhere, I'm certainly not going to argue with that. But there is a difference between shite policing and political policing. The Six County police force has essentially served as an armed militia for one community and against the other. It is up to them to prove to nationalists that it is no longer acting in that role.

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