Insults, Threats and Stupidity: A Guide to Dealing with the Gardai


Over the course of time spent as an activist with various causes, I have had the pleasure of dealing with the Gardai Siochana on a number of occasions. I have always found these to be entertaining and enlightening when trying to establish how our state’s forces deal with unexpected situations. First one must realise the type of force that we face. It is a dysfunctional mixture of young country folk lured by the prospect of power, pensions and a shiny uniform and grizzled old bastards that make Ray Burke look trustworthy.

Raised on a mixture of anecdotes from the “wild eighties” and Dirty Harry films, the young coppers walk the beat with an air of unshakable confidence and a sneaking suspicion that people are secretly taking the piss out of their little bicycles. The elderly and infirm policemen cruise around in the squad car praying that nobody will be stupid enough to upset their idyllic 12 month wait till retirement in Leitrim with the missus. Unfortunately where I and others like me come into the equation is in unsettling jolts to both sets little worlds.

The Gardai don’t like activists. They especially don’t like left wing or student activists. They  loathe republicans. So as a left wing republican student activist  I’m up there on their list of friends along with  Ritchie Barron and those two lads who took a piss on a patrol car and put the video on you tube. Whenever engaged in activism I pray that they will NEVER manage to put the dots together and figure out my political beliefs. However since they seem incapable of policing Donegal, hardly a hotbed of crime in a proper manner, I reckon I’m safe. So I hope to pass on a useful little guide for any people who may find themselves engaged in discussion with the boys in blue.

The first thing you’ll notice when engaging in direct action or indeed any kind of activism is that the first guard to arrive has no idea why he/she has been called and so will look determined and confused. They will then ask for you to clarify what exactly is going on. For example “So you’ve sat down on the road have you?” – although you may still be sitting on said road, it is important to confirm the fact to ensure the conversation can progress. You should resist the temptation to be cheeky till later when an officer may arrive.

The young garda will try to persuade you of the futility of your actions. Unfortunately since their chronically understaffed they’re also incapable of enforcing any consequences at this point. So they will attempt to play good cop. I always got the sense that they dislike doing this and it can be unsettling to look in their eyes and see a mad gleam as they dream of backup and batons. They will tire of this after a few minutes and, if you wish, you can explain your motivations for engaging in the action at this point e.g. “ I think hospital beds are important”.

No matter what you say the guard will agree with you at this point  if only in the hope of getting you to feck off. So don’t be afraid to have a little, fun for example: “Joseph Fritzel could well be innocent – they’ve very little evidence”. To which the garda will reply “I think x is right as well but sure you wont help the cause of x by doing this will you?”. Expect a few mumbled messages into the walkie talkie to keep you on your toes.

Then finally the officer will arrive. Looking and smelling like a museum exhibit the elderly  sergeant will then repeat  the questions asked previously but  this time you can tell he’s in no mood for shenanigans! Whether your protesting  against child soldiers or for foreign aid you’ll get the same response “well you’re a fuckin eejit to be at this”. Then the demand will be made to move on…….or else.

When curious and you inquire as to the consequences you will be told “Ah you wont be going to America”. Of course you should remember these guys have been around since the eighties and if you couldn’t go to America then you were screwed. Or you were Gerry Adams. But don’t worry your right to go is of course only jeopardized by a criminal conviction which rarely arises out of activism based on minor civil disobedience. Joe Higgins has been to jail and he got to Venezuela and sure once you’re in the south  you can walk.

If you do get cheeky or if your protest is in any way related to republicanism or left wing issues you may see some pedophile type middle aged men dressed in Penny’s bargain suits and cardigans lurking around. These are the fine men of the Special Branch. These fellas aren’t just armed with guns though – they have a whole range of witty put downs and retorts from the classic “Do you’ve nothing better to do with yourself” to “Your  some crowd of fools”, both accompanied by the customary disbelieving shake of the head. Always make them show you their badge if only to ensure that if they do get sarcastic you can reply using their first name. They don’t like that because it generally reminds them of their school days when they were mercilessly bullied by the bigger children.

Should you decide to be stubborn and resist all their ingenious attempts to negotiate and cajole you then they may well arrest you. But don’t worry because the next few hours is much more frustrating for them. They are required to of course inform you for why their arresting you. Always ask them to repeat it to be sure, they like to mumble a bit. They are then required to fill out enough paperwork to ensure a sizeable section of the rainforest is depleted. You have to sign it but they have to take all details etc. you can of course mix it up a little bit and have some fun with giving the details.

Should you be asked are you married/single just simply reply yes. Do so for all multiple choice questions. If you have an annoying neighbour give the address two doors down. When asked to hand over all possessions make sure to hand them a twenty cent coin and say “I want that back when I get out”. These little jokes can help lighten the mood. Or they can ensure a hell of a beating in a soundproof room. It’s a gamble but worth it.

In all likelihood you will spend at most an hour or so in a cell before receiving your adult caution. As you strut out of the station make sure to wink and say “See ya next time fellas”. So hopefully this has provided you with a quick sketch of how to deal with the Gardai. But remember the gardai are not serious authority figures and should never be treated as such.

(Warning I am not liable for any arrests, trials or convictions that may arise from reading this article.)


2 Responses to “Insults, Threats and Stupidity: A Guide to Dealing with the Gardai”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    […] […]

  2. cheap bulk candy Says:

    When someone writes an article he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it.
    Thus that’s why this article is great. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: