Nationwide Demonstrations Planned At Police Stations Across Ireland.

Nationwide Demonstrations Planned At Police Stations Across Ireland.

A national mobilisation against police corruption is underway as part of the public response to recent uncovering of systemic abuses within An Garda Siochana, the Irish police force.

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People have responded to an initial call to show solidarity with Maurice McCabe and his family by organising vigils and protests at police stations across the country, all timed to coincide at 6pm on Saturday 18th February.

Protests have been called so far at the following police stations

Tallaght, Dublin

Trim, County Meath

Mill Street, County Galway

Coolock, County Dublin

Anglesea Street, Cork

Carlow town, County Carlow

Rathmines, Dublin

Ennis Road, Kilrush, County Galway

Clontarf,  County Dublin

Dominic Street, Kilkenny

Castlebar, County Mayo

Kevin Street, Dublin

Finglas, Dublin

Roscommon, Country Roscommon

Letterkenny, County Donegal

Cobh, County Cork

Monaghan, County Monaghan

What is striking is that this is decentralised call, outside any traditional political party. Looking at the events organised, they range from holding candle vigils in direct support of Maurice McCabe and family, to call for the protection of whistle-blowers and more explicitly political calls to end political policing around political dissent in communities.

The national mobilisations across the country in recent years, specifically around community resistance to water meter installation has lead to an increase public understanding of what political policing can and does look like.

Facebook groups have been popping up over the last few hours so the list above will quickly be out of date.

On one of the coordinating pages this map have been pasted showing garda stations across the country. Given how quickly this demonstrations of public solidarity are popping, we are likely to see a quite a significant turn out across the country on Saturday.

 

Where is the #Spycops statement @CharlieFlanagan ?

The security forces here would be very concerned about agents from an another country operating in this jurisdiction…. I can confirm to the Deputy that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will meet with the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, here in Dublin next week to discuss this matter. I do not have any further details I can put before the House now. The Minister will make a statement following his meeting.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, 8th Feb 2017

I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.

Sarah Hampton in email to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Frances Fitzgerald 12th Feb 2017

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Its been a fairly rough fortnight for the individuals in government, the ‘leaders’ dealing with the fallout of what happens when the nature of policing as it exists in the state today becomes ongoing public conversation.

Nowhere near as rough as its has been over the years to those seeking simply to make public what the institution of An Garda Siochana get up to. Lost somewhat in the mix is the momentum building for the Irish state to open up about the role of secret British undercover policing units working in Ireland.

There are of course distinctions to be made between vindictive, inter-agency retaliations against police whistle-blowers from within the force -such as we now know was meted out to Maurice McCabe and David Taylor and others yet to come to light – and the specific vindictive secret political policing waged against people involved in political, environmental and social justice struggles.

What they have in common is though it the deep desire of institutional power centres such as police forces to keep secret what it is they are doing. At all costs police forces want to stay outside and beyond transparency and specifically beyond anything even resembling democratic control.

Precisely because they know that when all is out in the open, public revulsion turns to demand for institutional change. The first instinct of any power center is to defend its own power merely to retain it.

In police forces, this becomes coded in cultures of omerta. Loyalty to the organisation comes first, and all who show disloyality shall be treated accordingly.

So if this is what happens to those whistle-blowers inside police forces, how much more difficult is it for those outside police forces, trying to both raise public consciousness and achieve personal and collective justice around police abuses?

 

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Sarah Hampton (far left) with British undercover Mark Kennedy in Ireland 2005

And this brings us to the start of last week where a press conference was held around questions arising from British undercover officers working in Ireland. A report from that press conference is here. There is a tactic acceptance by previous and current governments that British officers did indeed work in Ireland.

Several TD’s including Clare Daly, Jonathan O’Brien and Paul Murphy as well as MEP Lynn Boylan have raised questions to the present government and at the European Parliament.

It was in response to questions by Paul Murphy on Wednesday March 8th that Enda Kenny stated the quote at the top of this piece.

However the press statement sent out by Mininster from Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlies Flanaghan following his meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, made no reference to raising the issue of British undercovers working in Ireland.

Earlier this week an email was sent to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald by one of the women deceived into a long term relationship with Mark Kennedy. As with all correspondence sent directly to members of the government, there has been no reply.

Kennedy was British officer with the secret National Public Order Intelligence unit. Sarah Hampton first met Kennedy whilst on holiday in Ireland. Kennedy at the time was using the persona Mark Stone, pretending to be an environmental activist. Sarah has already received a written apology from the Metropolitan police who ran the secret police unit. However, she, like hundreds of other caught up in British secret policing operating it seamlessly across national borders, she has many unanswered questions. Saying sorry is easy if all the other actions you come up against are deliberate obstacles, or as is the case in from the Irish government, simply ignoring your correspondence.

Here is that email to Kenny, Flanaghan and Fitzgerald in full.

Dear Taoiseach Enda Kenny,

Dear Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD

Dear Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald TD

My name is Sarah Hampton, you may have first heard my name when I was quoted on theParliament floor by TD Paul Murphy on 8 February 2017.

In 2005 I was on holiday on Ireland when I met Mark Kennedy. I subsequently went onto have a one year relationship with the man I then knew as ‘Mark Stone’ without any idea of his true identity. In 2010 I found out that he was a British undercover police officer working in Ireland as a member National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I have almost given up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary. I felt I had been raped, I never consented to sleeping with a police officer.

On the 3rd February 2017 I received a written full apology from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).3 Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor wrote me to acknowledged the pain and stress I have endured as the result of the deceitful relationship. The MPS Assistant Commissioner stated, “The relationship between you and Mark Kennedy was abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.” ”The relationship should never have happened.” “I recognise that what happened in your case was an abuse of police power that resulted in a violation of your human rights, a breach of your privacy and trust, and the source of significant trauma to you.”

I note the Parliamentary Answer that TD Clare Daly received from the Tánaiste, 8th February2017, stating “should anything emerge from the findings of the UK’s Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) that would be relevant to policing in this jurisdiction I will consider it fully and take any action that may be required.”

However at this point the UCPI excludes Ireland completely, so this Parliamentary Answer is illogical and does not satisfy my concerns in the least. We don’t need to wait for the findings of the UK undercover policing inquiry to know that there are significant grounds for taking action on this matter. I am a US citizen, I was on holiday in Ireland when our relationship began, and despite the British MPS apology I have received, I have many unanswered questions regarding Ireland. I want to know if Irish authorities knew what Mark Kennedy wasdoing, and I want details about his operations in Ireland.

– Did you allow him to develop intimate relationships with women in your jurisdiction?

– Was he operating with the full permission of the Irish authorities?

– Do you have police files on me?

– To what extent has my right to privacy been invaded by the Irish authorities?

It is my belief that Police and government are supposed to be here to serve the people and they need to be held responsible when they themselves have even admitted to being negligent and violating human rights. I believe that by not taking action on this matter you are perpetuating the trauma I have experienced and that my human rights are continuing to be violated.

Further I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.

On 8 February the Taoiseach stated in Parliament that he would have his Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, raise the issue with British officials within the coming week. I firmly request that you take action to insist to British officials that the UCPI be extended to include the activities of undercover activities in the Republic of Ireland.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hampton

Core Participant in the UK Undercover Policing Inquiry

The demands are clear from Sarah and others seeking truth and answers. The first one is very simple.

The Irish government needs to officially ask that the UK government extend Pitchford to include the role of British undercover units working in Ireland. It quite simple. If you don’t ask you don’t get.

The government of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Germany have all asked for this extension. This government needs to own up and say why it refuses to do so so far. There is not question that British undercover units were working here. That is already established. Sarah Hampton other questions need answering to. And to those we should add the opening up of files of people living in Ireland – citizen and non citizen, adults and children, – arising from coming into contact with British undercover police operating here and providing information to An Garda Siochana.

Because this isn’t going away.

#Spycops Press Conference in Dublin.

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British spy Mark Kennedy at the spire on O Connell Street, Dublin with Kim Bryan and Sarah Hampton in 2005.

#Spycops: Irish Press Conference in full. Please support independent journalism by using the share buttons at the bottom.

Earlier today three people targetted by members of the UK National Public Order Intelligence Units (NPOIU) in Ireland held a press conference. They want to build pressure on the Irish government to open up about the role of British spies in Ireland.

The three, Kate Wilson, Kim Bryan and Jason Kirkpatrick travelled from Spain,

Wales and Germany. Kate is one of a number of women who brought cases against the Metropolitan police in London because of being decieved into long term relationships with men who turned out to be undercover officers.

Kim Bryan was involved in organising educational workshops and mobilisations around the G8 meeting in Scotland in 2005, and spoke about how an undercover officer with the NPOIU convince her and other to travel to Ireland. The undercover cop paid for the visit and provided the transport.

Jason Kirkpatrick was also targetted by the same undercover cop in Ireland, Northern Ireland and in Germany.

The demand of those present was that the UK Pitchford Inquiry into the working of British undercover political policing units be expanded to Ireland since they operated here, with the first step of this that Minister for Justice and Equality follow the lead of other Justice Minister in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Germany in making representation to the UK Home Office to that effect. At the core of this lies not simply the abuse of human rights of political activists being deceived into intimate personal relationship – which perhaps understandably much media focuses in on. The continued stonewalling of the Irish government in providing answers to those abused and affected – even after admitting that it knows full well about the actions of British political spies working in Ireland, further compound British police violations with Irish police complicity.

The full audio of the press conference is below and I’d encourage people to listen to it all as the quotes that follow are transcribe snippets.

Opening the press conference Kate said

I found out in 2010 that my partner was an undercover officer and since then information has just kept coming out about the practices of undercover policing in the UK. We now know that since 1968 they have been running top secret political policing units, starting with the Metropolitan police in London but also other forces around the country. Activists have been finding information about those officers. The state hasnt actually yet given us any information that has not be already found out by reseachers and whistleblowers getting that information to the public.

We already know that a large number of undercover officers were involved in the kind of long term intimate relationship that I had. Some of them even fathered children. We know that they were spying on the families of the victims of police violence. People who had been killed by the police or whose murders had not be properly investigated.

And we know that they were working with the Crown Prosecution Service and were responsible for a number of miscarriages of justice. Mark Kennedy alone, who was the man that I was involved with, is responsible for over 56 unsafe convictions. These were convictions that were overturned because of the role of undercover police in those cases. People were wrongfully convicted.

We are all here because our privacy and political rights were violated by these British police officers here in Ireland. We think its really important that people know these things happened in Ireland and affected Irish citizens as well.

There is currently no information and no investigation in Ireland. So we are here to talk about some of the things that happen here in Ireland. Yesterday the Metropolitan police issued a public apology to Sarah Hampton who is a woman who was decieved into a relationship with Mark Kennedy that started here in Ireland.

A statement from a Sarah Hampton, currently in the US, was then read out by Kim Bryan.

That statement in full is:

Love is one of the most sacred things we have in our society and I fell in love with Mark Stone. He was supportive, attentive and generous, he behaved like he was in love with me. It tortures me knowing he was paid to be with me and because it was such a loving relationship, it was devastating to find out it was all a lie. I have wondered so many times if his superiors have kids; what would they think if their daughters were preyed upon like this?

I have so much anger inside about this crime against me and it is only exacerbated by the fact that a government institution that is there to protect me is responsible. How do you trust men after this? How do you trust a government? Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I almost gave up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary. I didn’t know how was I going to stand up to the Metropolitan Police Force. I felt I had been raped. I never consented to sleeping with a police officer.

I kept on fighting the case, using my life as an example of what should never happen to anyone. No one should ever be under any circumstance coerced, invaded, violated and deceived by an undercover police officer through sexual relationships. Despite the apology I have many unanswered questions. I have not received the files the police have on me. I want to know to what extent my private life has been invaded by the UK police and what justification is there for it?

Who gave permission for a British undercover officer to form and have a relationship with a US national in Ireland, in the UK, in Scotland and in Spain? The police have now apologised to me, saying that the relationship between Mark Kennedy and I was wrong, deceitful, manipulative and abusive, that it should never have happened. That it was an abuse of police power and a violation of my human rights It is our responsibility now to make sure that this never happens again. We are continuing to fight for the truth to be revealed in the undercover policing inquiry, but it is currently only looking at events in England and Wales.

My experience shows that the inquiry must be extended to include in Scotland, Nortern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and other countries where we know Mark Kennedy and many other undercover police officers were active. The Police and government are supposed to be here to serve the people and they need to be held responsible when negligent and violating human rights.”

Kim then spoke about her own interactions with Kennedy.

I came to Dublin because Mark Kennedy paid for me to come to Dublin. I came to Dublin because he organised the workshops that I gave. I probably wouldn’t have come if he hadnt organised that travel.

I dont know what was going on but I think it raises a very serious question because Mark Kennedy was essentially coercing, manipulating and manufacturing situation which meant Irish citizen then took part in things that were being manufacture by a British spy who was operating on Irish soil.

So we have very many question about what Mark Kennedy was doing here in Ireland, what his motivations were. And I think unless we get this inquiry opened up and extended to Ireland then we won’t get answers to them. And certainly from the perspective of Irish activists I know were involved in this there is some very real problem about the control of political dissent

Mark Kennedy alone worked in 11 different countries. He was involved in stitching people up across Europe, with over 56 cases of people found guilty being overturned in the UK.

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Mark Kennedy in Ireland 2005 with Sarah Hampton and Kim Bryan.

The German Justice Minister has asked that the Pitchford Inquiry be extended to include the actions of British undercover police in Germany. As have the Justice Minister in Northern Ireland and the respective counterpart in Scotland.

The Minister of Justice in Ireland is therefore somewhat alone in adopting a position that says the state simply refuses to be open and take responsibility for abuses by British police in Ireland.

It is not disputed by Fitzgerald that Mark Kennedy and other British undercover officer have work in Ireland. Mark Kennedy himself was arrested by An Garda Siochana on the 3rd of Mary 2004 in Dublin. No doubt Kennedy flipped given that his arrest had the likelihood of blowing the cover of an British spy in a top secret political policing unit.

This clearly was a very significant arrest. It not only could have compromised the work of the NPOIU overseas, but caused minor political crisis given the historical context of police collusion in the north, as well as police dirty tricks targetting Irish political activists documented by the Dublin Grassroots Network at the time. See http://flag.blackened.net/revolt//eufortress/dirty.html

Kennedy himself has stated that he know his reports and intelligence gathering landed on the desk of Tony Blair.

As such the demands today are quite limited. That there be an open investigation to exploring the Irish state and Irish police force role in what we already know took place.

Jason Kirkpatrick outline some of these demands.

Im also a core participant in this Pitchford Inquiry, I’m also one of the people who has started a legal action here in Ireland against Minister Fitzgerald. I first met Mark Kennedy in Dublin in 2005. Since he was outed as an undercover officer in 2010 I’ve spent 7 years just trying to get justice on this. I would like to have access to my police files and I’ve never gotten them. The Minister has said that because of public pressure – that we’ve created – that she has asked the guards to do an internal police report of Mark Kennedy’s operations here.

Is that report gonna be public? Well no, the minister has said its an issue for her, if something come up its up to her to sort it. Well we want answers, and we demand that that report is made public. We have been informing the minister for months now that this British officer created serious human rights violations that the police admit. Kennedy was here five or six times in the Repulic of Ireland. Were there wrongful or miscarriages of justice here in Ireland. That has to be investigated. That has to be made public. And so far Minister Fitzgerald has not even shown that she understands these issues.

We have shared via our solicitor the experiences of Sarah Hampton here in Ireland, as the UK police have admitted and apologised for this. Yet in latest answers in the Dail to questions Fitzgerald says “the need for an inquiry does not arise”

Darragh Mackin a solicitor with KRL Law, the solicitors taking the case against Fitzgerald said

Its somewhat shocking that people need to travel from across Europe to make a plea to the media to try and encourage support for what has to be an effectove and thorough investigation. That flies in the face of what is, under the European Convention of Human Rights, Ireland as we all know has an obligation to ensure that people within the jurisdiction at that time. Its indisputable that there is an empelling case for an investigation in the cases of Kate, Kim, Sarah and Jason.

Its clear that a British undercover agent came to Ireland. That is not disputed. Its clear that he engaged with sexual relations with a number of individuals in what was clearly an abuse of his power. That goes right to the heart of what is enshired in the constitution and what is enshired in the European Convention of human right in privacy. Its is hard to imagine a greater violation of the right to privacy.”

He then outlined the how most other states have taken it upon themselves to seek to have Pitchford extend to cover the role of undercover spies to where they work. Ireland is sigular and uniuque in its objection. The demand Fitzgerald and then Department of Justice is that it makes representation to the UK Home Office that Pitchford be extended to Ireland.

Do you think that the situation would be that if in undercover officer of An Garda Siochana undercover officers were operating in London and were having relationships citizens, do you think for one second that the Home Department wouldn’t request an investigation.

Lynn Boylan MEP has raised questions in the European parliament about the role of British spies working across Europe noted

Just another point to pick up on when you say that Frances Fistzgerlad doesnt deny that these inidividual were active here. In 2011 the gardai were asked to compile a report by Dermot Ahern who was the Justice Minister at the time. Brendan Smyth took over before that report was completed and it was largely expected that the gardia knew of the presence of these individuals.

Since them we have put in FOIs to get the report. Fitzgerald has refused, but what she has done is paraphrased it and she has admitted that the gardia were aware of these individuals presence in Ireland and there excuse was that these relationships between other police force jusisdicttions happen on a regular basis while the police come over to follow “dangerous individuals” that the gardai might not be aware of.

Now that doesnt tally with what we are hearing in that Mark Kennedy is responsible for suggesting this trip [to Ireland in 2005 in the lead up to the G8 in Scotland], he provided the transport for this trip, he provided the funding for this trip. He came here and brought the people he was allegedly supposed to be tracking to this island and Frances Fitzgerald doesnt find that unusual or warrant a further investigation. So its an important point that the gardai have to answer.

And as Darragh has pointed out the Gardai are the only police force who seem to have been aware of these individuals. The PSNI have flatly denied of knowing of there existence in the north, the German police force the same and the Scottish police force. And the PSNI have wrote to the British Metropolitan police saying that they need to have a conversation with the gardia. And again Frances Fitzgerald doesnt find that interesting or warrant a further investigation. So there are a lot of questions for Frances Fitzgerald on this.

Shell to Sea was represented by Maura Harrington at the press conference and anti war group ShannonWatch also expressed full support for an public open equiry.

Full audio here.

British #SpyCops in Ireland: What is @FitzgeraldFrncs covering up? An interview with Jason Kirkpatrick

I spoke to Jason Kirkpatrick targeted by British undercover police across several countries including Germany, N Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The officer was Mark Kennedy attached to the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU.) Kennedy operated in many European countries including several deployments to Ireland.

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Jason Kirkpatrick wants Irish Dept of Justice to explain role of British undercover police spying on him in Ireland

The NPOIU is a political policing unit set up to illicitly disrupt political networks social movements and family campaigns challenging abuses by the police.

The unit was preceded by the Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS) set up in 1968 to infiltrate protest movements opposed to the US war in Vietnam.   Both units not only spied on political organisations and social movements, but on campaigns against police abuses and murder in the UK.

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Mark Kennedy, using the name Mark Stone, from the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit, was deployed multiple times in Ireland. The Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana refuse to cooperate so far with Jason Kirkpatrick.

Jason is currently bringing legal cases in several jurisdictions with an aim of expanding the Pitchford Inquiry into the scope and nature of undercover policing set up by the current UK prime minister Teresa May. Currently this inquiry is limited to undercover policing in England and Wales. Jason and others are pushing to see this expanded to cover all areas that British undercover police targeted them.

It is understood that the NPOIU operated using contractual terms of agreements with several nation states/police units around the deployment of British officers from the unit in those states. It’s likely that some of the information held by the Irish police force includes such an agreement. It is also common practice for information fed back by British undercover police to their units is shared with the police force of the country they are operating in.

Currently the Irish state refuses to publish an existing report into Mark Kennedys deployments across Ireland, or who he was spying on and what information he has supplied to both the British and Irish states. Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald has called for another report from Commissioner O Sullivan, a move that should be understood as a stalling tactic to resist any transparency around some really dodgy policing

Full interview below

More info on the use of undercover police to spy and disrupt black justice movements can found at The Guardian here

Enda Kenny finally meets sister of murdered schoolgirl

Political interference, Garda collusion and state acquiescence protect child murderer in Donegal 

Mary Boyle was 6 when she was murdered to stop her "revealing a terrible secret"

Mary Boyle was 6 when she was murdered to stop her “revealing a terrible secret”

 

“I believe Mary’s killer had political protection and that the Gardai have shielded him for almost 40 years. I am determined that Mary’s remains will be found and that she will be given the decent burial she deserves.

“The Taoiseach must act now and ensure everything is done to find her and bring her killer to justice. Commissioner O’Sullivan is well aware of this case and I am urging her to act on all the evidence that has been available to her force for almost four decades.”

Ann Doherty, the twin sister of murdered schoolgirl Mary Boyle, will meet Enda Kenny in Dail Eireann tomorrow.  The meeting takes place four years after Ann initially spoke to Kenny on 2011, shortly after he became Taoiseach.

Reading the statement released today Ann Doherty, its seems clear that a cover up has enabled the murderer to freely live in Donegal for the past 40 years.

She outlines her belief that her identical twin sister, Mary, was murdered because she was about to “reveal a terrible secret.”  Mary was just six years old.

Ann states categorically that ‘political interference’  has protected the person who killed her sister and that that person remains  a continuing ‘risk to children.’

An Garda Siochana have been repeatedly contacted  with information including names of the suspect over the years, yet little to no action has been taken.  Individual Garda have contacted the family to outline the specific details of political interference.  It seems implausible that the leaderships of all political parties of the state are unaware of the circumstances of the case.

The implications are quite stark, and shine yet further light on the dark workings of informal and formal power that have played a significant part in shaping the state today.

A child murderer is being protected by An Garda Siochana and past political interference. This continues due to political inaction today.  Enda Kenny and successive Garda Commissioners have long known of the details of the case.  All have refused to take any substantive action to date.

It’s likely that Enda Kenny will try  this clear case of injustice until after the election.  However the electoral impact to FG is hard to quantify if they will be seen to be continuing this cover up.  Recent comments in the Dail by Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald video below have continued to mislead the Dail and the public.

But this shouldnt ever have been about the impacts on political organisation and personalities.  It is precisely the deference to these social groupings that have left Ann Doyle and her extended family knocking of the door of the Taoiseacht tomorrow.
Its hard to fathom the reality that you must live in when your sister is murdered as a child.  Its defies belief that for 40 years a grieving family, in the face of such immutable pain, is met with derision and barriers from the police force and the political establishment of the state.  Where can your loss go when boxed in by such callous public forces?
The reality is that political grubbiness and police collusion have meant that Ann and her family are still fighting  for justice.  And for her and the families campaign  for truth to succeed will need all the public support it can get.

Full press release below.  Please read it and share.  Follow (and use) the #JusticeForMary hastag  for updates and to show your support and solidarity

 

———-

Ann Doherty, the twin sister of murdered schoolgirl Mary Boyle, will meet An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dail Eireanntomorrow.

The visit is part of her ongoing campaign to find her six-year-old sister’s remains and bring the killer to justice.

The little girl from Kincasslagh, Donegal, is Ireland’s youngest missing person.

She vanished on her grandparent’s farm in Cashelard near Ballyshannon on March 18, 1977.

Ms Doherty, her identical twin, believes Mary was murdered by somebody known to her because she was going to reveal a terrible secret. This individual has never been arrested.

Ms Doherty also alleges there was political interference in the investigation which has prevented the killer from being brought to justice.

A number of Gardai who worked on the investigation have confirmed that a phone call was made to Ballyshannon Station in the days after Mary’s disappearance requesting that some individuals not be considered suspects.

Ms Doherty will inform the Taoiseach of her belief that the Gardai have protected Mary’s killer for almost 40 years and that during that time he was, and remains, a danger to other children.

Ms Doherty will be accompanied to the meeting by singer Margaret (Margo) O’Donnell, a cousin and long-time family friend who has supported her in her fight for justice. Her solicitor Darragh Mackin will also attend.

Both Ann and Margo made formal statements to Gardai almost two months ago saying they were told the identity of the killer on several occasions by someone who knew Mary.

The women also say they have expressed their concerns to Gardai many times through the years but no action was taken.

As part of Ann’s campaign to find her sister, she has travelled to Stormont, the European Parliament in Brussels, and Westminster Palace in recent months and has received backing from many politicians both in Ireland and abroad who support her in her fight for justice.

In the coming weeks, the case will be raised in the House of Commons and the House of Lords in London.

During tomorrow‘s meeting, Margo O’Donnell will remind Enda Kenny that she contacted him about the case when he became Taoiseach in 2011 and pleaded for his help in finding the missing schoolgirl.

“I asked for his help four years ago and told him about my concerns but didn’t get anywhere,” says Margo.

“I never heard from him again. This time I hope he will listen. Mary’s killer has been roaming around Donegal for almost forty years, a danger to all citizens, especially children. He must be brought to justice now along with all of those who have protected him all of these years.”

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Ann Doherty said she will be urging the Taoiseach to ask Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan why the chief suspect has not been brought to justice.

“I believe Mary’s killer had political protection and that the Gardai have shielded him for almost 40 years. I am determined that Mary’s remains will be found and that she will be given the decent burial she deserves.

“The Taoiseach must act now and ensure everything is done to find her and bring her killer to justice. Commissioner O’Sullivan is well aware of this case and I am urging her to act on all the evidence that has been available to her force for almost four decades.”

Ann is considering a legal action against Ireland, under the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to a prompt, independent and effective investigation after a suspicious death.

She is also seeking an inquest into her sister’s death.

 

ENDS

GSOC investigates Garda for batoning at #Gorey NAMA Protest

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UPDATE: 3.30pm 12th Nov.

Footage has been spreading across social media in Ireland which show  a member of the Gardai wildly lashing out with a metal baton hitting an unarmed man and appear to show it striking him to the side of the head.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has opened an investigation into the events seen in video. In a press release this afternoon it says

“The Commission is of the opinion that the public interest is best served by an independent investigation of this matter. This decision is taken in accordance with section 102(4) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

GSOC is appealing for anyone who may have been present and witnessed the alleged incident, or anyone with information which may assist the investigation to contact them on 1890 600 800.”

The protest was a collective organising effort from Wexford Housing Action Group (a member of the Irish Housing Network) and a range of community members and activists from Wexford, Wicklow and Dublin who successfully stopped an auction of NAMA properties.

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The full video can be seen on FB (linked below) and was captured by journalist John Rooney.

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From the video what is clear that the Gardai attempted to arrest one man, after the man appears to refuse to give him his name.   A lot of shouting breaks out as the the man is wrestled to the ground in the middle of a crowd.

Separately a older man is knocked to the ground and it can be seen that  a walking stick is trying to be pulled off him by a police officer.  People surrounding the man are making it clear that the man has Parkinsons which is why he has a walking stick.

The footage pans back to the police officer who attempted an initial arrest. Earlier in the video his shoulder badge number is recognisable as WX 152. He can be seen to walk forward, and then simultaneously pivot whilst remove his extendable metal baton.

He reaches back with his right arm and swings full force to strike a man.  As the police swings to strike the man, the man has his arms down by his side and is struck full force with the metal bar to the head and arm. The man falls to the ground.

The man was treated at the scene after an ambulance was called. It is understood his injuries were not ‘serious.’

Gardai themselves have spoken out about inadequate training for using batons opens them up to legal action being taken against them. There seems to be grounds for such action – in the face of widepsread public reaction – to be taken in this instance.

Garda were initially issued with 21 inch ASD extendable batons in Nov 2001, in a move seen by many as controversial at the time. In 2013 GSOC criticised An Garda Siochana for its use and subsequent attempts to cover up manic batoning of students at a demonstration outside the Dept of Finance.

For an archive of actions across Ireland about the housing crisis see here 

WARNING: Its very violent

Garda-violence-Gorey-Wexford

Full video link is here

Has resistance to water meter installations just won in Dublin? Not yet it seems.

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UPDATE 6.00pm  : Irish Water refutes Sinn Fein statement and say they arent pulling out. Though they do have a track u turns and vagueness.. Their statement said.

“There has been no withdrawal from any region, Dublin included. Irish Water contractors continue to install meters nationwide as evidenced by the numbers”  They also said “n order to guarantee the safety of metering crews and members of the public, metering works have, on occasion, been postponed on specific sites by the contractors due to the nature of protestor activity. Safety of the metering crews and the general public is a priority for Irish Water….Irish Water cannot comment on the specifics of its contracts with third parties for reasons of confidentiality except to say that it is for our contractors to deliver the metering program in accordance with our requirements; safely and meeting time and budget obligations.”

Irish Water are due to release a statement later today following comments from Sinn Fein’s environment spokesperson to the effect that Dennis O Briens company, Sierra GMC, is to stop installing meters in Dublin. Installations of water meters in Dublin have reduced to a trickle following community and street level mobilisations that have stopped work going ahead.

Seventy seven year old Ms. O'Neill joins her neighbours on the blockade of Irish Water at Montpelier Drive. H/T Stoneybatter Against the Water Tax

Seventy seven year old Ms. O’Neill joins her neighbours on the blockade of Irish Water at Montpelier Drive. H/T Stoneybatter Against the Water Tax

Whilst An Garda Siochana and private security firms like Gardex have worked hand in glove to facilitate water meter installation, including the police forces passing on details of people protesting in their own street, the ongoing consistent resistance seems to have have got results. The cost of continuing to push through water meter installations have been made too high for the company and for the government itself.

If the pull out is confirmed this is a massive boost to the anti water tax movement across the country as it shows the effectiveness of community based direct actions in stopping water meter installations in the capital of the country. Its hard to underestimate the importance of this victory.

That being said it is very unlikely that Denis O Brien will take this lying down. We should fully expect the framing of any decision to stop water meter installations to feed into the existing narratives of “thugish elements” of the anti water tax movements.  The mainstream media are very unlikely to portray this as a gallant win.

The Right 2 Water campaign have understandably sought to create a broad left platform for the coming election. Its common sense to do this. However it would be an a substantive failure of opportunity for radical progessive movement building in Ireland, if electoralism alone is the strategy going forward.  But hey those conversations can happen another day.

Because its clear that street level politics outside the ballot box, be that stopping meters going in, taking meters out or wide spread non payment is what will defeat this.

It looks like street politics in Ireland has had its biggest win in decades. And when people get involved with struggle in their communites and  become emboldened with a win?  Well that’s when things tend to get pretty interesting….

Weere not paying 1

#IrishWater Anti-Repression Demo (and some thoughts)


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UPDATE:  Arrests have now risen to twenty this week with a husband and wife arrested this morning by the police. 


We Wont Pay

Tonight about 700 people gathering outside the Department of Justice and Equality in an anti-repression demonstration. The demonstration was called in response to ongoing arrests of adults and children involved in the anti water tax movement.

Amongst those speaking at the event was Jason Lester a 16 year old boy arrested on Tuesday morning by ten detectives, nine in plain clothes. The police arrested him in his bedroom after he was woken up. “Next thing I new they where standing in my bedroom and arresting me under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.”

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Jason’s arrest was one of 17 so far this week which on Wednesday also included a 14 year old boy. The arrests follow a familiar pattern at this stage where large numbers of police arrive at the break of dawn at peoples houses in the working class community of Tallaght, usually minimum of six police officers per arrest. People are put into cells, stripped of shoes, belts and personal possessions, fingerprinted and interrogated for several hours and then released without charge.  

Crowd 2

The arrests focus on an incident in Jobstown last November when a car driving Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Tánaiste Joan Burton, was prevented from moving for up to three hours by people sitting in front of it. They were demonstrating against the introduction of a water tax, part of ongoing state policies resulting from the shifting of private speculation debt on to public accounts.

Crowd 3

A decision was made to build a case of false imprisonment of the Minister, by an investigation team resourced to a degree one would normally associate with high level criminality such as murders or drug trafficking. Its commonly understood within the wider public and the broad anti-water tax movement that the police operation is motivated not with a desire to convict anyone with false imprisonment of the government minister. That itself is a ludicrous proposition given that footage available on-line shows that her car was surrounded by police at pretty much the whole time.

An understanding of policing in Ireland suggests that the motivations are probably muddy. In part they probably do come from a desire to put manners on people involved in embarrassing and annoying a senior government minister. And if you can simultaneously sling enough hyperbolic mud at a movement you might create division and inoculate others from getting involved. And whilst the history of Irish policing ‘crisis’ show that the force is wide open to political interference, a more mundane reality is that police forces engage in political repression for the same reasons a dog licks its own balls. Because its coded into its DNA. For a substantive look at political policing in Ireland check out this report from the Garda Research Institute. But before looking at policing its worth looking at the movement from which those arrest come from.

The anti water tax movement itself is the largest and most sustained public reaction to years of cuts, job losses, growing poverty and inequality. A sense of the importance and social power of the movement is illustrated by the fact that the political party polling highest at present, Sinn Fein, changed its own position in relation to Irish Water and the proposed introduction of water charges. Other left organisations such as the Socialist Party/Austerity Alternative Alliance and Socialist Worker Party/People Before Profits and trade unions and activists are involved under a broad Right 2 Water banner.

AAA Banner

However the wider movement itself is not under the control of any of these organisations. To be part of it you simply just have to not pay. It is made up of an increasingly networked affiliation of community groupings communicating with each other. In this way groups from across the country, and within the capital, are in regular contact with each other to organise solidarity actions such preventing meter installations or support events like the anti-repression demo.

It is within this context that the arrests this week is perhaps most usefully understood. The Irish government has failed spectacularly at each and every step of trying to create Irish Water as a legitimate social policy. It has bounced between an attitude of arrogance and disdain and open fear as deadlines for registration get pushed back and proposals changed so many times that most of us probably forget what the initial Irish Water proposal was. The entire process has only further fuelled disillusionment and general disconnect between ordinary people and a form of low-cunning politics that is clumsy, cruel, temperamental and when the shit the fan, fundamentally unjust.

Disillusionments with unjust policies, or indeed political systems, pose no threat or possibility of change when they are limited to small left wing meetings. Nor do individual bodies and families worn weary with the stress of bills and putting food on the table, and having to feed the relentless desires of a banking system to have its pound of flesh so that you have a roof over your head.

It is a profoundly different experience for everyone involved, for governments and participants, when that disillusionment is expressed on our streets. Be that hundreds of thousands of people collectively refusing to sign up, twenty thousand people walking together in the capital or twenty or thirty people on their own street stopping water meters going in in the first place.

Each one of these things is an active and living expression of solidarity and care. The very things most visibly absent in the logic of ‘austerity’.

From the perspective of people engaging in this movement, these are beautiful and empowering things. The reality of becoming engaged with our neighbours in trying to shape our world outside the ritual of voting is a transforming experience. We become political and social actors ourselves. And we do it again and again. Exploring that further is another piece of writing, but suffice to say that movements of this size are not just about changing policies or getting better governments in the future at the next election. For thousands of people involved it is a real change in the immediate way we understand what politics is and what it can be.


From the perspective of a government that sees their respective party support falling, and looking across Europe and seeing that peoples movements are a real game changer, public engagement in social solidarity is a terribly bad idea. And perhaps for a moment we can indulge and make evident the basis of this fear. A lot of TD’s in Labour and Fine Gael are going to lose their jobs. We can be generous enough to recognise that it is scary to look forward to the future with that fear. We know it all too well. So at an individual level there is perhaps a case to be made that our own humanity is served to recognise that with empathy. But equally their job losses will be a result of a loyalty to organisations that preside over growing poverty and inequality. So perhaps this is small justice in action.

Though the established order of things is not about individual TD’s. The established order of things is about the maintenance of a captured state. And the maintenance of the established order is primarily achieved by having the power to defined what gets talked about and what doesn’t.

click for full size

click for full size

Arresting Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy first thing on a Monday morning was clearly motivated by a desire sought to shape a media narrative of the week. The headline news at 7am on Monday Morning Ireland, an RTE radio show that sets the news agenda for the day, was about the €3,500,000,000 hidden away by rich Irish people in Swiss accounts of HBSC banks. By 8am the headline was the arrest of Paul Murphy and three others and all other media outlets pursued. Now the arrests most likely were not timed to knock out the Irish end of the global HBSC tax evasion story.

Nonetheless those folks with €3,500,000,000 stashed away enjoy very much the established order of things. Where we see social solidarity and positive actions to make justice and equality central to how our society works, they see a mob. When we challenge the legitimacy of certain policies or orthodoxies, small but powerful interests know that their ability to shape the state to suit themselves is under threat.

And it that sense the demonisation of the broad anti-water tax movement by Denis O Brien press is just part of the historical game played between owners and the owned. The fact that Michael Geoghegan, the former CEO of HBSC at the time, was appointed chair of the NAMA advisory board is a mere footnote in the weeks news. There has been no public debate around precisely who in Ireland defrauded millions from our public services.

Dept J E

It remains to be seen if the wider public in Ireland will be swayed away from non payment by the recent police actions. And when Paul Murphy says he would love to see his day in court so would many of us. Its unlikely to happen. One can only imagine how damaging it would be for Labour and Fine Gael facing electoral meltdown to have the Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton cross examined in the courts. I doubt very much whether the established order of things will have an appetite for that.

I’ll leave the last words to Jason