I can remember what it feels like to be at the receiving end of intimidation but it absolutely pales in comparison to that meted out to the unfortunate Kevin Lunney. Many words have been written and much said about this barbaric act but make no mistake the culprits must be brought to justice. We now have a Garda Commissioner who held very senior rank in the PSNI and we have, so it is said, extremely good co-operation between the police forces in both jurisdictions. This dreadful campaign of intimidation has been going on for seven years. If these “reprehensible thugs” as local T.D. Brendan Smith has described them, have a paymaster, who is he ? What are the motives behind these crimes ? Every resource available must be focused on trying to put an end to this lawlessness. It is said that they are good at covering their tracks. Well, I say to those in pursuit of these criminals, uncover them. However, there is a wider context to all of this and that is the requirement on the ground for people who may have knowledge to come forward. Those that do would be applauded.
At a time when there is no doubt in my mind that tensions are rising around the border, it is essential that the government makes sure that sufficient resources are made available to the Gardaí. I have already heard chilling accounts of the potential risk in the event that customs posts are erected. The fact that these may be designed to protect the Single Market seems to have no bearing on the potential danger. In Charlie Flanagan we have a robust and competent Minister. Fine Gael was always considered to be reliable when it comes to matters of law and order. Well, now is the time to prove it.
From the border to beef and the plight of those involved in the trade. I shuddered every time I heard the words Slane and Dawn Meats. It is just up the road from us. It is a few decades since I would qualify as a beef farmer but I know enough to deeply empathise with those that were on the picket line. It is an industry under severe threat from Brexit. What they need is respect, transparency and I would suggest a fair base price. You simply cannot expect thousands of farmers to continue if they are losing money. Something is fundamentally wrong here and it needs to be sorted before irreparable damage is done to the production of a product that we should all be proud of, including the Taoiseach.
Returning to Brexit – what are the chance of a deal ? I am still praying. We now have the strange EU described “non paper” solutions emerging from the British. Maybe, just maybe, when they become paper there will be a proposal !