The Coal Quay, Cork, yesterday directly opposite the Bridewell Garda station.

Ever tried to report illegal parking to Gardai?

San McCormack writes:

Yesterday, this van (above) was blocking the whole footpath, and a family with a wheelchair user was in front of me at the time..

Family attempts to get around – I tell the driver he’s blocking the path.

I get told to fuck off..

Lovely response from a clearly reasonable and intelligent individual…

So I pop into the Garda station on my way back from the shops, funnily enough, directly across the road from the offending vehicle.

I speak to the Guard inside, and let him know what the story is.

I show him the photo, with the time and date clearly visible – CCTV also everywhere, including more than likely the stations cameras, in the area if needed.

This was the convo:

Me: “I’d like to report this please.”

Guard: “Right. We can send a car out to have a chat”..

Me: “and I assume that will include an FCPN for blocking the footpath, especially so in this instance as it was blocking a person in a wheelchair?”

: “No. We can’t do that.”

Me: “Why?”

Him: “You’d have to go to court.”

: “Really?”

Him: “Yes. Now, you can of course make a statement, but that would mean you’d have to go court.”

He continued: “This means that if you want to go on holidays next year, and you get called to court, you must go, or YOU yourself could be arrested for not attending.”

Me: “but I have the photo and timestamp here.”

Him: “doesn’t matter, his solicitor could argue he had to park there, maybe he had heavy items to deliver!”

It seemed like this Guard was now attempting to justify his behaviour, and try to dissuade me from making a statement. Again he mentioned he could send out a squad car to “have a chat” with him.

I told him I’d still like to go ahead and make a statement.

Also worth mentioning I actually reported this offence to the station by phone call half an hour before this conversation.

So he was there for at least 30 mins, and the issue was also raised with the station prior to my engagement with the van driver.

I am appalled at this entire situation..”


35 thoughts on “The Van

    1. GiggidyGoo

      If so, then couldn’t the Garda have gone across the road himself, or sent some other garda across, and take the mantle – and enforce the law instead from a state point of view and not cop out and force an ordinary citizen to go down the legal route.

      1. Liam Deliverance

        That sounds like a lot of work, much easier to pretend you have seen nothing, then back the citizen into a corner where making a statement, going to court a year later, and still no penalty for the driver is an exercise in futility.

  1. Hank

    Kinda get the impression that, as you were approaching the door of the garda station, they were inside going “Oh Christ, here comes yer man again..”

    1. Col

      I get the impression that they were going “I could take a statement, but that would mean I’d have to get out of my chair and write stuff down and all…. I don’t want to do that”

    2. hansel

      Exactly Hank, nothing to do with them being quite work-shy.

      My local station has a novel way of letting people know their opening hours. You drive up to the electric gate during the posted opening hours, and if the gate opens for you they’re willing to work.
      If it doesn’t open for you, they’re “not there”. Even if you can see them inside, and it’s during their posted shift time.

      It’s entertaining watching people queue up, blocking traffic on the road, waiting, hoping and dreaming of being let in to the Garda station….all in the valiant effort to ruin a Garda’s day, of course.

  2. d

    kind of wish Broadsheet didnt redact the registration plate of the van. Take the risk of being sued for defamation.

    1. Cian

      I’ve no idea where those number came from, or what they actually represent, but it represents a lot of money!

      How come they took a cut in Q1 2019?

      1. curmudgeon

        Happy to enlighten you, overtime payments are down due to the govt telling the new Comish to stay on budget. In 2018 OT was 48M, and in 2019 one inspector got himself 64 grand in OT alone! Amongst other methods, Drew Harris curtailed OT by ordering the use of fingerprint reading clock in machines – the garda union objected of course:

        The weekly pay figures come from the IPA 2019 report

  3. JEH

    My girlfriend’s been into the guards twice recently to report dangerous and illegal driving while she was cycling. Both times the guard has gone out of his way to state “and you do know this means you will have to go to court if they challenge the citation?” It’s really hard to tell if this is an attempt at conveying information or trying to dissuade people from filing a complaint.

    1. The Old Boy

      It’s a combination of both. A lazy streak that makes them unwilling to do the work, justified in their own minds by the risk of the complainant losing interest before it gets to court and thus putting “all that work” to waste.

    2. george

      Definitely an attempt to dissuade. I had it after being assaulted even though I had dental bills of €1000.

  4. Pip

    I guess they have to make some effort to let folk know what they may be letting themselves in for.
    Could be a bit daunting. And the law is a strange oul beast at the best of times.

    1. george

      They didn’t bother to pop across the road when it was first reported and it was left sitting there outside a garda station for a half an hour.

  5. hansel

    Funny how when I’ve reported other alleged crimes-in-progress, the Gardai never told me “you know you’ll have to court and it’ll be their word against yours and you could go to jail and you’ll have to take days off work”.

    But any time I’ve (seldom, TBF) called them about alleged traffic offences, they’ve gone to extreme lengths to convince me it’d be an absolutely terrible thing to do, to make an official statement. It’s almost like it’s taught in Templemore. I can picture it now…
    “Listen carefully lads, de car is gud. Anyting udder dan de car is bad,”
    “OK, next lesson – how to get breakfast rolls during peak traffic and without paying for parking…”

  6. markdcp

    Few years ago on Capel St, Dublin I was stopped behind my wife at a red light on our bikes while the taxi behind us sped through, breaking the light and clipping her with his wing mirror. Properly hurt her hand in the process. I got the reg and taxi number, went straight to Bridewell station and reported it. Guard on duty, “sorry nothing we can do as it would be his word against yours.” Is this how traffic collisions are dealt with in this country?

    1. JEH

      That was my impression too, but the guards my girlfriend reported the incidents to (she had registration details) did actually file the complaint and said they’d issue a spot fine. However, she’d need to go to court if they challenged it. Again, I don’t know if it was being genuinely informative, trying to dissuade, or somewhere between the two.

      However, I’d strongly encourage anyone to take down the details and report it. Maybe there’s been a change of heart due to covid and more people cycling. Not sure.

  7. Markus

    Not making excuses for the Garda in this instance but I expect an awful lot of people aren’t willing to make statements / withdraw statements when it comes to the crunch

    I witnessed a crime last year and had to make a statement and go to court to give evidence. IT basically involved me telling my version of events and then the barrister for the defence looking to trip me up on wording, accuse me of lying and questioning my character for an hour all while the defendant and his family eye balled me throughout. It was a very unpleasant experience and while I know it is wrong to say, would make me think twice about reporting something in the future

    1. Pip

      Plenty of examples of law in action. An acquaintance had a drink driving charge thrown out because the random breath test checkpoint wasn’t in EXACTLY the place stated on the permit. The judge really went to town on it. A good solicitor will tell you you’d be mad not to challenge and regale you with favourable anecdotes. Minefield. For the Gardai, mostly.
      But of course you have to shell out for a barrister.

  8. Jack Of Ireland

    The guards are not designed to be a police force. There role is to keep the peace and ensure that private and government property are protected. There is no organisation charged with impartial implementation of laws in the Republic. Also, unlike most other countries, the guards use there own judgement, so politicians and gaa players are not detected.

    1. Cian

      “unlike most other countries, the guards use there own judgement, ”
      I believe that in practically all countries police officers use their discretion when it comes to enforcing the law.

      A lot of laws are written with a judgement baked in: e.g. “it is an offence for you to be so drunk in a public place that you could reasonably be presumed to be a danger to yourself or to anyone around you. “.

  9. newsjustin

    There is a good share of guards who simply want the quietest life possible. And see everyday policing as a chore to be avoided.

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