'Garda' submits to online interrogation

Wed, Sep 19, 2012, 01:00

A man purporting to be a member of An Garda Síochána has appeared on a popular online forum volunteering to answer questions about the work of the force.

Writing under pseudonym “Magnum IP”, the supposed garda held a live questions and answers session on Reddit, a link-sharing site, on Monday and continued posting yesterday.

The site’s profile got a major boost last month when US president Barack Obama appeared there unannounced and invited voters to “ask me anything”.

Monday’s online conversation with the poster, who described himself as “in my 40s” and who, at times, engaged with Irish speakers, attracted over 500 comments on the site. Vowing to “answer questions as honestly as I can”, he discussed everything from Garda checkpoints to being unarmed to how he deals with drugs offences.

Asked what he would do if he “caught a guy smoking a joint or with a small amount of weed/hash”, he said: “Personally I would take it and destroy it, if he/she was known to me I would record it in my notebook and take no further action. A particularly nice and friendly person would be allowed to keep their weed.”

Questioned on his soft approach, he said, his motivation was not to ruin someone’s life with a drugs conviction.

Commenting on the sometimes informal style of gardaí compared to overseas counterparts, Magnum IP said, “I don’t think that culturally we will ever embrace formality in this country. The day ‘Ah now lads’ leaves Irish policing, so will I.”

On Garda checkpoints he said: “The most overwhelmed and intimidated people at a checkpoint are always the most innocent. I still get nervous when I get stopped off-duty.”

The conversation received a positive response from viewers with one participant commenting: “You just completely restored my faith in the Gardai, thanks!”

The garda said he was “a bit surprised at the very positive responses” he had received during the anonymous Q&A session and said: “It has been quite the experience for me.”

A spokesman from the Garda Press Office said while the office did not comment on third party material published on the internet, he said social media sites were monitored by the force and said, “where there is breach of garda regulation, internal disciplinary action can be invoked”.

A spokesman from the Garda Representative Association said the poster appeared to be a member of the Garda Síochána but said: “whatever views he has, he is expressing his own personal views and not necessarily those of the organisation”.

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