What kind of suspicious incident needs to happen in Ireland before the Garda get involved?
Well, it depends.
Take, for example, the thirty-seven pieces of state-owned art that recently went missing from Leinster House.
The Gardai were not called in and are, apparently, not interested.
It’s all being quietly dealt with ‘in house’, so to speak.
First of all the art pieces are, apparently, only ‘missing’, ‘misplaced’ or otherwise ‘unaccounted for’. They have not, apparently, being stolen.
The accommodation managers have beeen ordered to locate the artwork and if they cannot then they will be officially declared missing.
This will take two or three weeks, so no hurry; no panic.
It seems that when staff take a fancy to a particular piece of art they ‘take it’ with them when they move office.
According to an official the resources necessary to keep track of everything are not available.
While some of the pieces went missing after the last general election other items went missing well before that.
It appears that the whole matter of artwork going missing from Leinster House is as common and as unremarked upon as a politician doing a favour for a constituent.
No need to call in the Guards, sure the art will turn up somewhere, sometime and if they have to be officially declared ‘missing’ sure what’s harm.
But what happens when state-owned artwork goes missing from a location outside the control of politicians and state officials?
Well, it’s theft, pure and simple and the Gardai are called in immediately.
A major Garda investigation is underway after state-owned paintings were stolen, not ‘missing or misplaced’ now, but stolen from a warehouse in Co Kildare.
Gardai are investigating staff at the private warehouse where the paintings were stored.
Neither Leinster House staff nor politicians are being investigated by Gardai.
Gardai want to know how the thieves were able to gain access to the warehouse.
Nobody in Leinster House is being asked about access to the missing artwork.
The Gardai are trying to determine when the artwork was last checked.
In Leinster House nobody seems to know the when, who or how when it comes to checking artwork.
Gardai are trying to establish a timeline of events leading up to the theft of the paintings.
In Leinster House, well, some of the artwork went missing before and some after the last election; nobody really knows what’s going on.
Gardai are trying to establish who had access to the warehouse and who had knowledge of its contents.
In Leinster House it seems everybody had access to the artwork and just took what they liked.
Gardai want to know what security procedures were in operation, how they were bypassed and how the theft went unnoticed.
In Leinster House there is, apparently, no security and the ‘missing’ artwork wasn’t missed for ages.
The Department of Arts and Heritage is carrying out a massive review of security within the department.
In Leinster House the accommodation managers have been instructed to have a look around and see if they can find anything.
So it seems, when state property goes missing at a location where state officials and politicians are responsible nothing much really happens.
There’s no suspicion that a crime may have been committed, the very thought.
When state property goes missing outside of the political/administrative sector there is a strong and immediate reaction by state authorities.
And the lesson is?
If you fancy a nice piece of free art – Leinster House is the place.