Making It Up As They Go Along



Irish Water demonstration in Raheny (Top) and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Following reports that water protests have been ‘infiltrated by dissident republican groups’, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald spoke to Mary Wilson on RTÉ’s Drive Time yesterday evening.

During the interview, Minister Fitzgerald claimed that water protesters had, among other things, slashed the tyres of Garda and GMC Sierra vehicles.

Ms Wilson tried to ascertain from Ms Fitzgerald exactly how many such incidents had occurred, but Ms Fitzgerald couldn’t give Ms Wilson a figure.

Readers may wish to note that the alleged slashing of tyres by protesters was something that was mentioned in the High Court on Wednesday afternoon when GMC Sierra made a request for an extension to an injunction already in place against protesters.

This court hearing took place before the protests in Santry Sports Complex, and the subsequent protest outside Coolock Garda Station occurred.

Mark Coughlan, from RTÉ’s Prime Time, was at the High Court on Wednesday. Last night, he wrote:

“That day the courtroom was packed. People had to wait fifteen minutes before other cases were completed and enough people left before they could even get inside. I had to sit on the floor to type notes. The Courts Service staff brought out a plug-in fan to keep air circulating in the room.”

“The court had previously granted an injunction order preventing anyone aware of the order from “assaulting, harassing, intimidating, endangering or otherwise unlawfully interfering with or obstructing the [meter installation] workers”. Nine named protesters were before the court that day, video footage was presented of a number of them as evidence of a need to extend the order, to make it effective. Counsel for GMC Sierra said the footage showed them interfering with or obstructing work. Not all footage provided to the court was shown on Wednesday. What was shown included footage of people standing with their back to vans and one clip where a pipe appeared to be removed from behind the barrier of a GMC Sierra workstation where work had paused. There was no sound on the video footage.”

“Affidavits read in court said GMC Sierra workers have been subject to “assault”, “racial abuse”, “being spat at” and that there had been criminal damage to GMC Sierra property, including tires slashed on vehicles. These affidavits did not attribute any specific acts to any individual. The protesters I spoke to who were before the court said they didn’t relate to them.”

“An extension to the injunction order was sought to prevent anyone with knowledge of the order from coming within 20 metres of a GMC Sierra work location. Counsel for GMC Sierra said the company respected the right to lawfully protest and that the extension to the order would not prevent such protests. They said it was sought to ensure the health and safety of the public, protesters and workers. The protesters named said they act peacefully and within their constitutional rights and denied any wrongdoing.”

“The High Court agreed to the extension of the order. On hearing the decision a number of people at the back of the court jeered. One man shouted “what about our constitutional rights?” towards Justice Paul Gilligan, who was presiding. The judge took the unusual step of addressing him, saying the decision balanced the right to lawfully work with the constitutional right to lawfully protest. He said the order would allow for residents and passing traffic to access and go about their business.”

Meanwhile, Minister Fitzgerald’s interview with Mary Wilson on Drivetime yesterday evening:

Mary Wilson: “Would you also accept that the majority protesting against water charges are peaceful protesters?”

Frances Fitzgerald: “I would absolutely accept that and I know there are many concerns out there, concerns which as a Government, we intend to deal with in the next couple of weeks and deal with those concerns which have been expressed. We understand those concerns, we want to deal with them in a fair and equitable manner. But I believe that many of those peaceful protesters out there, when they know precisely about some of the incidents which are happening, in relation to the water protests, I think they will be horrified. By that, I mean when you hear about incidents in relation to, let me give you some examples, the slashing of tyres and Garda vehicles, the slashing of tyres on vans that are being used by those trying to put in water meters, the breaking of windscreens, the pulling of gardaí into crowds, so that the gardaí cannot get back to their own colleagues, when you hear about people jumping on vans and extreme intimidation of workers and of gardaí, I don’t believe that the thousands of people who were on that march last Saturday would support that type of behaviour.”

Wilson: “All right, minister, to stay…”

Fitzgerald: “I think peaceful protest is acceptable…”

Wilson: “To stay with the details you’ve given there because slashing of tyres, slashing of vans, windscreens, gardaí being pulled into crowds – how many? How often?”

Fitzgerald: “Well, they have been part of these protests. There’s a series of events like that which have happened. The intimidation, clearly there are people before the courts, there has been a huge interference with workers who are trying to install water meters. People have been, you know, standing on top of the areas where the water meters need to be installed, it has been extremely difficult for the gardaí and they have, actually, in my belief, showed incredible resilience in dealing with the situation and, as I say, I really believe the vast majority of people who have concerns, which we as a government totally understand about water charges and about various issues in relation to Irish Water, I believe they will be horrified at some of the particular events that are happening in various areas, particularly around Dublin on a regular basis, I think that is of huge concern and I believe many people out there would share my concerns.”

Wilson: “They would of course, but they would also perhaps say that members of Government would only be delighted to be able to jump on issues like this and exaggerate them, to shift the focus away from what has been a debacle over water charges.”

Fitzgerald: “I can assure you that is simply not the case. I am, what I am telling you is factual, it’s based on detailed reports that I have in relation to these incidences, these have happened and there is that level of intimidation and these incidents are factual…”

Wilson: “I don’t doubt, minister, you know what is being said. I suppose the question I’m asking is about quantifying them.”

Fitzgerald: “Yes, well, I mean they are, on an ongoing basis, gardaí have to be deployed, as I say, in a variety of areas on a regular basis to stop the intimidation. The gardaí don’t want to be at these sites, let me say to you. I mean the gardaí’s job, they have no wish to be at the sites. They are there because the public order cannot be preserved unless they are there and people cannot get on with their work legitimately, that is the problem.”

Prime Time’s Mark Coughlan – The water protests in north Dublin (RTE)

Delegitimising a Movement: Irish Water and the ‘Sinister Fringe’ (CrfiticalMediaReview)

Mary Lou McDonald: Taxpayers’ fury will not be put out until water charges are completely scrapped (TheIrishMirror)

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66 thoughts on “Making It Up As They Go Along

  1. Ferret McGruber

    The Gardai are carrying camera at these protests. Let us all see the videos of these alleged incidents. All we’ve seen so far is video of Gardai pushing old women to the ground.

    1. A.Tomás

      Bernie Hughes (The election poster)

      Isn’t she the one who was at that sit down protest in the Jervis centre regarding Palestine?

      Another typical professional protestor. They give the anti-water tax campaign a bad name.

          1. A.Tomás

            Thank you Zarathrusta.

            I am a supporter of Palestinian statehood.

            I just recall this lady acting erratically regarding it, and now that Palestine is no longer in the news, she’s up to something else. There are many like her.

            The anti-water tax campaign is truly a national one, I don’t want it to be ruined by professional protestors.

          2. linbinius

            @ A.Tomás @Zarathustra

            I still don’t get the point.

            The term professional protestor is so cringe worthy. People tend to use it to seem clever and above others. Others who actively engage in a serious of demonstrations supporting things you yourself support….and you mock them.

            The anti-water tax…Movement?…wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the support it has without these “professional protestors”. To say they give it a bad name is rubbish.

      1. Anne

        Jaazus, what she at an abortion protest as well?

        Pick a cause, only one, says A. Tomas.

        acting erratically regarding it
        What the fupp does that mean? You’ll have to be more specific. All women are erratic shur.

          1. linbinius

            She was trying to garner votes when she was acting “erratically”. Or maybe she felt so passionately about the cause she, shockingly, decided to sit on a floor and raise her voice. So, it was erratic in terms of protesting?

            I would imagine her memory has diminished as much as yours has regarding the recent conflict. Still sending the ten e-mails a day (because that is what really matters) you were sending during the recent conflict ?

            “(by the way I’m supportive of anti-water tax and Palestine yayyyyyyy!)”

            Why? And why are your methods so much more dignified and effective?

          2. Anne

            Yeah. Erratic.

            If you spotted Pol flupping Pot at the water protests, what difference does it make.

            (I really have to give up reading the comments in the new year)

      2. Parp

        That’s not Bernie Hughes. That is somebody with a sign written on the back of a Bernie Hughes poster.

        So your argument makes zero sense.

  2. TK ickle

    There was a time in journalism where people had to provide evidence and “witnesses” were named.

    Now it’s just utter bollix.

    Why didn’t he ask for some sort of proof?

    I’m not saying it didn’t happen but if it did, then the proof wouldn’t be that far away.

    1. Alfred E. Neumann

      I don’t there was that time, TK, but it’s a fair point. Journalists of every persuasion are craven about power. It always bothered me that nobody asked a single bishop during the child abuse scandals, “Before we start, have you ever had sexual contact with a child?”

  3. Fergus the magic postman

    They are, as I say, as has been the case, and have been, that is to say, just to be clear, in the name of clarity.

  4. Original Cynic

    What a load of obfuscation. We get the same waffle when the subject of having a Referendum arises!

  5. Original Cynic

    What a load of obfuscation. We get the same waffle when the subject of having a Referendum arises!

  6. bisted

    ….mind you….if it was Jerusalem…there’d be dozens dead…and the protesters would be facing 20yrs for protesting.

  7. offMooof

    Here is footage from Coolock on wednesday this was as aggressive as we got

    That was after the pepper spray incident we had marched to artane roundabout to calm things down, there was a lot of frustration and anger as the public order unit did appear to targeting women to provoke the men. Some of the younger kids had thrown stones at the cars in the carpark but myself and others in the crowd were keeping things peacefull.
    The local Gardai from the station seemed incredibly uncomfortable with what was going on, some almost looked ready to break ranks.
    the inspector who was ‘assaulted’ his name is Hyland and he was transferred from Mayo, you’ll recognise him from footage of Rossport. Him and some other Garda instigators were goading people in the crowd particularly the young men. He called us scum, uneducated unemployed etc etc. a core group of 4/5 public order guys and girls were laughing and jeering the crowd.
    This was moments after the young woman and some people who were already on the ground were pepper sprayed:

    1. offMooof

      The inspector who was allegedly assaulted is the one without the hat there, this was a minute or two after the ‘assault’ i didn’t see it but what everyone in the crowd was saying is that he went to throw a young woman out of his was and almost tripped up. That started the scene above.
      What I can confirm is that he had been moving around the crowd for half an hour before hand. Him and his public order gang are notorious for winding people up.

      1. Anne

        Is he the man at :52 secs saying “that man assaulted me, that man assaulted me”.
        He looks awfully fine for a man who’s been “assaulted”.

        Cannot believe that they were calling the crowd scum, uneducated etc.

        A Garda calling anyone uneducated is laughable.
        The standard of education required to enter the Garda college is minimal.
        It’s one step above remedial.

        From their website –
        What are the Educational requirements?

        Applicants must

        (A) (i) Have obtained an Irish Leaving Certificate with a grade D3 minimum in five subjects at ordinary level, or
        (ii) have a Level 5 Certificate (Major award) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), or
        (iii) have a qualification that, in the opinion of the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is of a standard in terms of both level and volume of learning that is not lower than the standard of the qualification specified at (i) and (ii) above

        1. Ppads

          The government done a good job until now then f*cked up by letting the Unions dictate the employment policy of Irish Water and then, English consultants had a big feed. There was nothing ‘ambitious’ about the schedule to renew the Irish Water intrastructure because there never was one. Then, the electorate were to be billed for a service they don’t have so the poor(er) took to the streets.
          I just made that all up as I fancy a local (single) guard. :-)

        2. offMooof

          Yup thats his alright as you can see he was lucky to escape the mob of baying dissident republicans with his ego intact. When the female member of the public order squad called us uneducated I stood in front of the line and explained the crowd dynamics of a how a riot happens and how the gardai will be the focus of anger. The local lads looked like they were about to start crying. They’ve been told not to talk to us so at first the eye start to look around then the lips start to quiver a bit,I feel sory for the local Gardai when this is over they’ll have a lot of work to do rebuilding relations in the community.
          During the 80’s and 90’s they wouldn’t come into some of the estates it took at lot of work over the past 10-15 years for trust to be built up between the police and community. It’s going to take the Gardai ousting their pepper spray happy colleagues as a start to rebuilding relationships.
          What I’m afraid of right now is a social media crackdown, the indo today sprewed a line about garda names and address being puslished on Facebook. Hopefully all this will backfire they aren’t very good at the straight up proaganda much better at the insidieous stuff, so proud of Ireland and how public opinion has pivoted over the past two months.

          1. Anne

            I can imagine it gets very heated if they’ve been spraying people, dragging women to the ground.

            I don’t believe they’re professional enough to deal with any of it, and I’d believe it that they’re using bully-boy tactics. You can see it in the clips.

            It’s not like they’ve never been accused of brutality with protesters before.

            There’s definitely a media slant/propaganda here in favour of the Guards, going by the clips.

          1. offMooof

            A citizen with an opinion? How very dare she the if nothing else the bumblings of the government have given us all a license to hold power to account. The Gardai the media and the government have been an abject failure, we have a duty nevermind a right to scrutinise these institutions.

          2. Bill E Bong

            Hot air and a laptop?

            Pot / Kettle, etc.
            -Only difference is that you aren’t saying anything except.My name is in Irish, so I must be clever.,and showing your ignorance of the real situation.

            Hold on.

            I can’t believe I’m defending a comment from someone who earlier, on another post thought it was ok to compare the Bruton thing’s face to a bag of chisels. That’s out of order.
            Have you never seen a walrus with the mumps, chewing on a swarm of wasps?

        3. Bill E Bong

          A Garda calling anyone uneducated is laughable.

          Thank you Anne.
          About time someone had the balls to say it on the internet.

          It doesn’t work in real life, trust me.

          1. A.Tomás

            “Only difference is that you aren’t saying anything except.My name is in Irish, so I must be clever.,and showing your ignorance of the real situation.”

            WTF are you on about?

            The real situation?

            Anyway I must be clever because my name is in Irish, that’s all I’m saying. ;)

          2. Fergus the magic postman

            What doesn’t work in real life? A Garda calling anyone uneducated is laughable doesn’t work in real life. WTF are you talking about Guard/ Blue Shirt/ delete where applicable for clarity?

  8. Ppads

    BS is also making it up as they go along. If you want to be journalists then do the job which so far, nobody else is willing to do. Irish Water only appointed a HR manager FOUR WEEKS AGO? As for the workers; SF really need to back off.

  9. offMooof

    Another point and I’m surprised there wasn’t uproar, I was in the court on Wednesday and other protesters there were receving texts informing them that the gardai were enforcing the 20m injuction while the barrister for GMC was still presenting the case.
    The gardai were enforcing the 20m injunction before the judge ruled, I believe thats called a show trial.

    1. Ppads

      Whatever issues people have with the tax and that is what it is; assaulting fellas or girls earning a living is unacceptable.

  10. cousinjack

    Gardai not fit for purpose, private security force for corporations
    Individual Gardai should examine themselves, there is always the dread blue flu

  11. Clampers Outside!

    Well now Mary, you do know Francis was giving you a scolding there, subtle but a scolding none the less.

    What a wishy washy condescending Justice Minister we have. You will take my word, and that’ll be the end of it.



    Ya whackado! :)

  12. Geoff

    I actually think there is some merit in the anti water charges case, but how have they dragged It down to a crazy argument about who pushed who or how a Police man/woman should do their job in a pressure situation. If the argument has merit it has merit. Debating who’s mobile phone clip is the best has no merit. In sporting terms the analogy is that it is fair enough to go for the ball but you can not go for the man/woman. Right now the anti water charge folk have (unfortunately) taken their eye off the ball and they are going for the man . They will ultimately loose on that basis.

    1. Sham Bob

      The anti-water charges movement is much wider than the anti-metering actions, and it’s success will depend on how many don’t pay in January.

  13. Kdoc

    If you lie down with dogs you sometimes get up with fleas. I see now that a former developer and former member of the Fianna Fail National Executive is involved with the anti water charges campaign. Our present economic problems , and the roll-out of austeruty measures originally arose from three groups: Fianna Fail, Bankers and Developers – two of those boxes get ticked.

    1. ahjayzis

      My neighbour who has a conviction for animal neglect was spotted marching in Celbridge at the last protest.

      Obviously I now support and am willing to fund this government stitch-up because I can’t in good conscience ally myself with a movement that clearly advocates the mistreatment of animals.

  14. Paul Davis

    These people should invest their time bettering themselves rather than with this futile campaign.

    Everybody would reap the reward.

    1. offMooof

      I was trying very hard to better myself I’ve less than one year left in my degree, unfortunately one of the many unspoken aspects of austerity is to drive down the number of college graduates. Grants and funding have been slashed, there aren’t non-JobBridge part time jobs I was able to keep going for two years but it just wasn’t possible. There are may implications to attempting to break the workforce in the name of competitiveness, people like me are one of them.

      1. cluster

        You are incorrect on the drive to ‘reduce the number of graduates’.

        The number if third-level places have increased during the recession.

        1. offMooof

          Registration fees increase, grants decrease, Post gards are no longer paid for teaching labs..these places are not for you.

          Did you catch Merkels comments last week about Spain, Greece and Ireland having too many university graduates? Or do you believe the growth line? Low paid, temporary jobs look like growth which is good enough if you let banks run economies.

      1. Paul Davis

        All of them. Obviously.

        Why would you argue with my statement?

        It’s for everybody’s benefit.

  15. Drogg

    If they are going to claim this stuff is happening what’s stopping people from slashing tires and threatening workers. Also sugar in a petrol tank is a good one.

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