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Law

Chipping Away at the Rule of Law-When the Stream Becomes a River

The threat of lawlessness that is featuring in the news now with renewed threats on executives working in the former Sean Quinn group of companies along the border is, finally, being taken seriously.

About time, too.

The Taoiseach, the Government, an Garda Siochana, the PSNI appear to be stepping up their efforts to bring to justice those involved in criminal activity such as arson attacks, threats against executives, and the shocking assault on Kevin Lunney.

Any right-thinking person recognises that the rule of law must be upheld; the alternative, thugs going around with balaclavas meting out a perverted version of justice, is unthinkable.

But the rule of law has been under attack before this, now, high profile ‘Quinn executive’ case.

Not too long ago down in Roscommon there was the incident in which a repossessed property being guarded by security personnel on behalf of the lender were assaulted. The property was reoccupied by the former owners who had got into financial difficulty and against whom judgments and repossession orders were obtained in the Courts. These judgments and Court orders were obtained in accordance with the court rules-that is, the rule of law.

And yet we saw a number of politicians coming out and speaking out of both sides of their mouth about the attack on the security personnel and the ignoring of the court orders. There was very few, or none, spekaing about the need for the rule of law to be upheld.

We had a similar situation in Oughterard when a hotel that was earmarked to house asylum seekers was attacked with an attempt to burn it down. This plan to house the refugees was abandoned. No politicians, or very few, came out then to speak up for the rule of law to be upheld.

This is how standards and rules are eroded. They are chipped away at in a minimalist way first, and then it increases in breadth and intensity.

And now we have the ‘lawlessness’ along the border with the attacks on Quinn executives, a Garda station being burned out, and the arson attack on the motor car of the TD, Martin Kenny, who spoke out in favour of asylum seekers in Ballinamore.

You cannot pick and choose when the rule of law is to be upheld.

You cannot tolerate sneaking regarders for breaching the law when it appears to be against a so called elite such as the banks in Roscommon and then appear shocked when it takes on a greater intensity and appears to be an attack on the state and justice system along the border.

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