Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, the head of police in the 26 Counties, is facing a vote of no confidence from Gardaí themselves amid rising strains within the force and public disquiet over rampant violent crime in Dublin city centre.
Following a string of violent attacks on tourists, some countries have been compelled to warn their citizens to take precautions or avoid certain areas of Dublin entirely.
American citizens were cautioned by the US government to “exercise good personal security” while travelling due to “a number of recent incidents.” The warning from the US Embassy in Dublin came after a US tourist was left with serious injuries following an assault in the city centre.
This is just the tip of a wave of shocking and wild attacks, often involving gangs of drugged-up youths targeting random strangers.
If passed, a vote of no confidence would exert significant pressure on Harris to resign and serve as an embarrassment for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who appointed him to lead a hard-right policing agenda.
Harris, a former chief in the infamous RUC Special Branch, has frequently been accused of acting as an MI5 asset while mishandling day-to-day policing in the 26 Counties.
He has also endorsed authoritarian changes to Irish law recently introduced by the Dublin government to increase surveillance of the general public and restrict free speech described as ‘hate speech’.
With Dublin amidst a crime wave, Harris has also ordered his Special Branch police to harass and intimidate republican activists.
This week, Saoradh stated that members of the Garda ‘Special Detective Unit’ (SDU) shadowed a small gathering of its members and other republican activists and supporters in Dublin and proceeded to stop and subsequently search a number of them.
During the search of one republican, one of the Gardaí mentioned several locations and people with whom he was socialising across the border, they said. It was suggested that Harris is still working to a RUC/PSNI agenda.
“While these futile exercises are carried out by both the SDU in the Twenty-Six Counties and British Crown Forces in the Occupied Six Counties in an attempt to stifle Republican activism, it’s clear that they continue to fail,” they said.
“As Republicans, we have long been aware of their reach, and this only goes to validate our analysis of their role in the attempted criminalisation of Republican activists.
“Despite these attacks, we again go on record to make it clear that no amount of harassment will deter Saoradh members and IRPWA activists from continuing their sterling work on behalf of Republican Prisoners and within working-class communities. Any and all attacks are doomed to fail.”