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The Word on the Week

Surveillance

How do you prevent those charged with keeping the law from being a law unto themselves? Answer, you appoint an Ombudsman. As least that is the theory but does it work in practice?

Designed to handle complaints about the Garda from the public, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) found themselves in a difficult position when they discovered that their premises were bugged with listening devices.

The plot thickened when the devices used, according to the UK Consultants Verrimus who did a sweep of the premises, were not available to the public and had been planted by experts. These experts were professional in their work having almost perfected an exit strategy to be triggered should they be discovered. This strategy operated when Verrimus caught them in a prearranged trap and caused the hasty withdrawal of those listening taking their devices with them. All that was left were a few loose ends of their equipment which presumably have no fingerprints on them!

So all the evidence points to the fact that the surveillers themselves, the GSOC, were being surveilled!

No one likes a watchdog, particularly one that was doing its job, albeit without telling the Garda or the Minister for Justice that they were checking for listening devices. The result was a week of rubbishing the GSOC which is a pity as we need someone to watch over the ones who watch over us.

The principle of accountability is writ large in the Bible. How we live our lives and how we communicate in our speech are the indicators as to what kind of person we are. Whilst conduct must match speech it is the latter that is recorded.

In dialogue with the religious people of his day Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (St Matthew Chapter 12 verses 34/37)

God doesn’t need listening devices. As the Psalmist put it “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether”.

We could easily be overwhelmed by such things but for the knowledge that Jesus is alive and has a permanent priesthood in the glory. “He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews Chapter 7 verses 24/25)