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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 7, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    Sauce for the Goose . . .

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Like most right-thinking people, I am utterly appalled at the sentiments contained in the recording allegedly made in a Garda car. By the same token, I am appalled at the sentiments expressed in certain stand-up “comedy” performances on issues such as the Holocaust. Yet for some people, the latter seems to be excusable . . .

    • robespierre says:

      Hi Deaglán,

      I am not sure how long you spent with your camán clasped in hand on the pitches of Oulart or Our Lady’s Island but this was a simple case of locker room talk. Careless? – yes, embarrassing when made public? – absolutely, criminal? – emphatically not.

      Ultimately, the three Guards were going off duty upon return to the station, they were not in the presence of the women they arrested and, if they made the alleged comments, they were speaking “out of school”. We are all aware that the situation in Mayo is very tense and that the Guards on station down there are being asked on a daily basis to police what amounts to a permanent threat of riot and sabotage against a lawful development.

      I detest Shell. I know enough about the Niger Delta and the Ogoni people and indeed of Shell and Royal Dutch’s respective histories to know just how much work they have been up to their oxters in. The law of the land is not however always what we want it to be and permanently threatening a breach of the peace or to destroy private property is anarchic behaviour. I have tremendous sympathy for the residents and their concerns but I am deeply dubious of the crowds that have thronged there from new age hippies and environmental extremists to Eirigí.

      It is in that context that the remarks were made and I think they were simply joshing around. I know I have made much worse comments joking with my friends over a pint in a bar and have heard worse from men and women in Ireland and elsewhere. In the absence of threat – it is by any logical analysis a stupid and potentially offensive comment. With threat it is a crime.

      The fact that they are Gardaí is part of the problem with the comments – I hope it has no knock-on effect on victims coming forward. The Irish government is to be commended that it didn’t outsource the policing problem to the mercenaries often used by many oil companies operating in places like the Niger delta.

      I don’t get offended when people crack jokes about things that matter to me privately. If we get too po-faced and too politically correct then the world will become a very dull place indeed.

      As to the Holocaust you’ve just had an interesting blog on Palestine with over 70 comments – I ain’t going there again!

    • Niall says:

      To be fair, the difference is that stand-up comedians don’t tend to have women locked in the backseats of their cars on a daily basis. (Or at least, if they do, the problem is significantly greater than a few off-colour jokes) The issue for me, as I suspect it is for many others, is that these weren’t simply offensive remarks; they were offensive remarks allegedly made by people with a huge amount of power and authority joking about ways in which they could abuse that power. No stand-up comedian is actually going to commit genocide.

    • BB says:

      Arrrrrrrrrrrgh not this again! Well, imo, there’s no comparison between “the former” as distinct from “the latter” that you mention Deaglán. The former was private and accidental; the latter was v public and v contrived. There is no doubt in my mind that the males allegedly involved in “the former” were being ‘naughty’ in the context of a private space (no females were present) and that what was expressed in the conversation (recorded by happenstance) is not at all representative of these individuals’ actual attitude to situations of actual abuse perpetrated by abusers against any victims of any age or gender. Yet, such is the hypocrisy in this society that “the former” may be subjected to disciplinary action (and rightly so, in so far as high standards, not least with regard to language and sentiments expressed, should be the objective in a civilized society and especially where it concerns those in privileged positions in that society) and “the latter” in all the latter’s public and pre-meditated ranting is allowed the freedom to be so utterly offensive. If I were in the “judgement seat” there would be leniency shown to “the former” but none whatsoever to “the latter”.

    • a.commenter says:

      The difference is that Tommy Tiernan is an ‘alternatve’ stand-up comedian not a Public Servant tasked with the Criminal investigation and law enforcement. Some people will therefore find satire about the Holocaust excusable … not quite the same thing, as I’m sure ‘right minded people’ will agree, as these alleged comments of on-duty uniformed Gardai. …
      There were three officers of different rank allegedly sharing the ‘joke’…this suggests a culture of institutionalised sexism in much the same way as Scarman and McPherson dimissed the excuses put forward for institutionalised racism in the Met…what they called the canteen culture…
      The fact is this exists… we know it exists…it has happened before … the difficulty is proving it…fortuitously the alleged tape suggests that the Gardai have saved us the trouble…’Bang to Rights’ as they say in the vernacular…
      Having the same ‘Force’ investigate this outrage is a travesty…Quis custodiet ipsos custodes…?

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