Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Thinnest Of Blue Lines

Here’s the kind of cop story, excerpted from the Irish Times earlier this week, you won’t hear too often outside of the pages of crime fiction. Last Tuesday night, two gardaí received a 999 call and arrived ‘within a minute or two’ of the alarm being raised to discover that a man was robbing The Village Pub, Chapelizod, Dublin. Conor Lally, the Irish Times’ crime correspondent, takes up the story:
Mr Gorevan [a co-owner of the pub] said when the gardaí arrived the front door of the pub had slammed shut and was locked from the inside, meaning the officers … had no way of gaining access to the premises.   They made their way through a neighbouring house and scaled a 20ft wall in the back garden into the pub’s beer garden.
  As they were doing this the gunman, armed with a double-barrelled shotgun, had forced the bar manager to empty the till behind the bar. He had then taken the manager to a cash room in the pub and demanded he open a safe.
  When the gardaí arrived they tackled the gunman as he was standing over the bar manager at the safe with the loaded gun. When the gunman saw the gardaí, he pointed the shotgun at them.
  “It was incredible,” said Mr Gorevan.
  “There was absolutely no hesitation from them, they just tackled him instantly and pinned him down with no regard for the danger they were under.
  “I really couldn’t praise them highly enough. It was great that the incident passed off without anyone being injured. The guy with the gun was very agitated and aggressive throughout the whole thing.”
  The incident was captured on the pub’s CCTV. The gunman was not masked.
  By the time the uniformed members had arrested the man, armed Garda back-up had arrived outside the pub. The arrested man was taken for questioning to Ballyfermot Garda station.
Yes, the two cops were unarmed, as the regular uniformed Gardai always are. Doesn’t look like suicide-by-cop will be taking off any time soon in Ireland, eh?


Patricia J. Hale said...


Declan Burke said...

Hi Patricia - Impressive, isn't it? The cops here take as much stick as cops anywhere else, but once in a while they cover themselves in glory. I'd like to see those guys get medals. Or their own chat-show. Cheers, Dec

Dana King said...

The lack of armed police is the biggest adjustment I have to make when reading Irish or English crime fiction. (The spelling and terminology - grassing, for example - is like driving on the left side of the road. Do it a time or two and you're all set.) I'll be reading along, something will happen, and I'll think, "Okay, now it's time for the cop to take this guy," before I realize he's unarmed, and has to call for police with weapons.

That's a culture shock for someone living in the States, where deadly weapons are sold in Wal-Mart and Virginia just passed a law to allow concealed weapons in bars. Kudos to crime writers for working around situations that give us an excuse for a gunfight scene, and whatever is better than a kudo to the Gardai and bobbies who actually have to do it.

Critical Mick said...

Double Wow!