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SOAPBOX: Bigwig Politicians Fear Jesse James Gang

by Jimmy Rhatigan

A DECISION to build protective rings of steel around our bigwig politicians throws up more questions than answers.

Following a Garda Risk Assessment that, we are told, revealed threats to senior politicians, allegedly from the far left and far right, it was decided to provide 24-hour armed security.

This means that, along with colleagues who are already minded and mothered, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, Finance’s Paschal Donohue and Public Expenditure Chief Michael McGrath will now have armed bodyguards.

Politicians’ State cars will also be driven by armed detectives.

And, wait for it, according to sources, the babysitters will not be randomly selected from the Garda Force.

They will be ‘hand-picked’.

The move has to be a sad and sorry one for our country.

It has to mean that politicians have expressed that they believe they are living in fear of an electorate that gave them their jobs.

Imagine if our politicians were really important people? 

Or if they genuinely feared that the Jesse James Gang or Al Capone and his mob would appear around some dark corner with all guns blazing.


Then, politicians would surely ask to be carted around in South Korean Black Panther tanks, acknowledged as the best tanks in the world, with the politicians huddled inside, wrapped in bullet-proof garb.

We do not wish to make light of a move that may get the thumbs up in some quarters but will be sniggered at in other areas.

Honestly, we don’t!

We acknowledge that in controversial times, politicians and indeed many others may be at the mercy of angry people.

Of course they will get hassle.

Don’t all of us.

Proof of a worrying pudding is that Tanáiste Leo Varadkar had a milkshake thrown at him while out on public duty.

Sure any armed guards and drivers would have to call on reinforcements to catch whatever fart disposed the dregs of a milk drink onto his Armani.

Varadkar, incidentally, along with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney have for some time been wrapped in cotton wool.

Also well-guarded are President Michael D, the Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions.

Fair play to whoever is paying the bill for protecting all of our special ones.

That’s us, the taxpayers, by the way.


The irony is that a majority of Gardai who are not armed are supposed to fight crime with a baton and spray.

It reminds of the slogan that has been so oft repeated following Golfgate and the other breach of Covid restrictions by Department of Foreign Affairs personnel in Iveagh House.

‘We are all in this together’.

And no doubt, we may be reminded too that we are all equal, but of course we know that or, are supposed to accept that some of us are more equal than others.

It was Varakrar who uttered the damning words: ‘There’s no way I will sign a blank  cheque for elderly people who want extra heat in their homes.’

He was speaking as our country was gripped by a spell of ice, snow and plummeting temperatures.

The inference has to be that it is alright for the elderly to perish of hypothermia in their own homes but it is not okay for a senior politician to risk his or her skin from a flying milkshake or perhaps a misplaced banana skin.

‘We are all in this together’.

When the heat is on, politicians get their pound of flesh.

But when bitter cold strikes aged and ill pensioners, our loved ones get a cold response and any hope of extra heat goes out the window.

A question that politicians may just ask themselves: Why do some dislike us so much that they would contemplate harming us?

Some pondering to be done by our elected ones perhaps.

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