Dan Boyle: Protesting Too Much


From top: Members of the Fingal Battalion Direct Action group outside Minister for Health Simon Harris’s County Wicklow home last Sunday; Dan Boyle

They looked a sorry lot. The half worn balaclavas combined with sunglasses was not the most de rigueur look.

The self styled Fingal Battalion gave the impression they had arrived in Wicklow after a 21st century attempt at the Jarrow March, hiking from Balbriggan to Greystones but frustratingly failling to pick up any support between Howth and Bray.

After 40 minutes on the M50 they finally found soulmates in the form of Wicklow Says No, undoubted second cousins of Ian Paisley and the DUP.

Being angry for anger’s sake must be one useless and pathetic responses in modern politics. Anger, as John Lydon has warbled, is an energy, but a particularly empty one if not effectively harnessed or directed. Anger to be acted on needs to have a strategic purpose.

There is plenty airing these days of who and what most people are against. There is very little exposition on what most people are for.

It is very easy to be reactionary, to create then point at a panoply of hate figures who are there to be blamed; never to recognise responsibility as something that needs to be shared.

Maybe I’m wrong in being bothered about the politics of hate. It’s more of a religion really. Its rites and rituals now fairly commonplace. Its liturgy seems to write itself.

Its demonology affixed to the misplaced great and good, for whom a special place in hell has been bought and paid for several times over.

Like any mainstream religion there isn’t any need for theological consistency either. Followers of GOD on Earth (Gemma O’Doherty) seem to see no irony in demanding a platform, for her and them from the malign, nay evil, Empire of Google

The ultimate irony is that this type of politics of the playground often achieves the opposite of its intentions. It evokes an undeserved sympathy for the inept, the incompetent, the evasive and the incomprehensible.

The many failures of traditional politics lay not in not exposing the intricacies of conspiracies, but in the persistent inability to avoid cock ups.

It isn’t George Soros who’s having meetings about bringing about an end of the World as we know it, it’s the conspiratorialist who believe he is.

One of the sadder and more pathetic aspects of the religion/politics of hate is that anyone who questions these inconsistencies, who challenges these basic tenets, immediately becomes part of the demonology, a conspirator inter pares.

This type of buffoonery not only insults successful protest movements of the past, they also help undermine the credible vehicles of today and their near future counterparts.

That’s the frustrating thing about democracy, built into its modus operandi is the right, even the need, to be wrong.

I’ve been wrong before. I will be wrong again. I’d like to think that I have and will learn from my mistakes. The scary thing about the religion/politics of hate is an ingrained inability to admit they can be wrong.

Their messianic view of the World does not allow for the right to be wrong. To be wrong is to be as bad as they are. If you can’t be moralistic, in this solipsistic World they inhabit, how is it possible to be moral?

Like economics, political thought and actions are subject to cycles. It has been our collective tragedy that a dark phase of these cycles has co-incided over the past decade.

But these things too shall pass. We can choose to let these times overcome us, we can be the change we want to be, or we can live our lives in a state of perpetual bemusement.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. He is running in the local elections in Cork in May  for the Greren Party.  His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Previously: Meanwhile, In Wicklow

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76 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Protesting Too Much

  1. ollie

    Great article Dan. Great to see the fear spreading amongst so called main stream Politicians and Journalists (which are you today?) like yourself who have screwed the rest of us over for generations.

  2. ollie

    Maybe you coudl for once write about the real issues, not a bunch of protestors who staged a 30 minute publicity stunt,
    let me enlighten you as to what most people are for:
    Decent Healthcare, where women do not die as the consequences of mismanagement
    Decent hospitals built without exhorbitant costs
    Responsibility from our elected representatives for the roles they are paid to fulfil.
    It’s not much to ask for, yet it seems it’s way beyond the skillsets of Simon Harris

  3. Northern Pole Cats

    Dan Boyle, ex-TD, ex Senator, your dogma is failing.


    Why should anybody vote for your lies?

    Why are you sticking up for an incompetent Minister?

    Are you afraid that you might be next to be called out on the streets – outside your home (if things go really bad)

    Why are you trying to demonise Gemma O’Doherty? Are you scared of her for some reason?

    Why are you trying to excuse George Soros? Do you owe him something?

    Your core political tenant is based on a lie: CO2 is a nutrient for the earth. You know this but you keep peddling the lie that it is a pollutant.

    You’re trapped by your own false dogma in an unstructured hate that the seeks to derail all human progress. No energy, no technology, no travel, no hydrocarbons and you want to destroy the natural relationship between men while you advocate women for the right to kill babies in their mother’s womb.

    We’re all supposed to find comfort in the hot-air you vent but the truth is you’d rather we all freeze to death so you can validate your virtue.

    Come on in Dan Boyle, your time is up.

      1. Papi

        Coxrox will of course deny that he is on fire and furthermore tell you why you’ve fallen for the lies that are his actual face being on fire.

        Go Coxrox, you wild animal!

      1. Northern Pole Cats


        It’s coming Bertie, prove me wrong.

        Afterwards you and Dan can comfort each other with your worn-out lies from the political sidelines.

        1. Nigel

          Celebrating catastrophe and suffering brought about by ignorance and incompetence is kinda your thing isn’t it.

        2. ReproBertie

          Prove you wrong? How exactly? Do you expect me to go and convince the British parliament to accept the only possible deal? I’ve said for months that the choice was a deal with the backstop or no deal.

          Many a slip twixt cup and lip. In 42 days we’ll see if the Sasamachs have a lick of sense between them or if their own stubborn stupidity will see them throw their economy over a cliff.

          1. Northern Pole Cats

            Ah yeah, parliament enabling the will of the people – such stubborn stupidity.

            Thankfully you and Dan know better than the people as a whole and you will carry on with your lies regardless.

            Tax and steal baby, tax and steal.

          2. ReproBertie

            I had no idea the will of the people was to leave without a deal.

            The will of the people here was for abortion but you don’t seem happy to accept that. Hypocrite much?

          3. Northern Pole Cats

            Ironically Brexit is one of the few national plebiscites I do have faith in, simply because it went against the establishment narrative.

            Lisbon 1 was the last time I believed the result of an Irish vote for the same reasons – and we all know what happened then…

            So when liars – like the Irish pro-abortion liars in 2018 – declare victory and then refuse to validate the results of their count before a court then I have every right to suspect funny business.

            Liars gonna lie – it’s a fact of life.

          4. Papi

            Is that why you change your username so often, Roxy?
            Cos liars gonna lie, albeit under new names, like you.
            Courage of your convictions doesn’t apply to you, does it? You have neither.

          5. Giggidygoo

            ‘The backstop’ doesn’t exist. It never did. It was a ‘proposed backstop’, part of a ‘proposed withdrawal agreement’. For them to exist, May has to be able to sign off on them with the EU. She couldn’t previously, and can’t as it stands at the moment. So they do not exist.

    1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

      No they don’t.

      But considering the increase in wingnuts and idiots, that may have to change.

        1. Catherine costelloe

          OK. …I recall garda protecting Shatter at his home and not allowed to use bathroom so they either peed on his rose bushes or called a patrol car. He was a very important person so compared to Simon. Then again , Shatter had in excess of 36 properties so little wonder he was allegedly an early riser and at his desk by 7 am in the Dail.

          1. TheQ47

            As far as I recall, Taoiseach, Tainiste and Minister for Defence get Garda protection. Which is why Shatter had it.

          2. TheQ47

            EDIT: Here it is:
            Special Detective Unit (SDU) bodyguards accompany the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, on official visits in the Republic of Ireland and internationally, and the Taoiseach is protected by a Close Protection detail from the SDU. Full-time armed protection and transport is afforded to; the Tánaiste, Minister for Justice and Equality, Attorney General, Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions and Garda Commissioner. All government ministers and former Presidents and Taoisigh are provided with armed protection and transport when their security is deemed under threat, otherwise it is reserved for official state occasions.

  4. ollie

    “considering the increase in wingnuts and idiots”
    FG on fire this morning!!

    Why not consider the increase in useless TDs leeching off the rest of us. Harris is a disaster, absolutley hopeless and clueless. Do you know that €16 million was spopent by his Dept on rent for empty offices because the staff wouldn’t move? The reason? They moved to a new system where they clocked out on their PCs. The issue? They weren’t paid for the time it took to walk from their desk to the front door!
    In fact, they are now occupying both thier old and new offices because some staff still refuse to move.
    What did Harris do? nothing. What would yor manager do?

  5. ollie

    “The gardaí are reviewing the security of ministers following this incident.”
    No laws were broken. The Gardai would be better employed investigating crime.

  6. Richard Byrne

    Dan Boyle – “I’ve been wrong before. I will be wrong again. I’d like to think that I have and will learn from my mistakes.”
    Your first mistake is in your attempt to paint these individuals as ‘the sinister fringe’ “half worn balaclavas combined with sunglasses”. Let’s brake that lie apart. 11 people pictured. 6 wearing assorted hats (it looks like a cold day) none of these hats look like “half worn balaclavas”. 2 women & 1 man wearing sunglasses (it looks like a cold day but with a low winter sun). Are the proles not allowed sunglasses??
    It’s really shabby stuff Dan and you should be ashamed of yourself.
    Also, I would say Gemma O’Doherty resonates with these, as you paint them “pathetic buffoons” because she addresses their concerns rather than someone like you who… well, calls them “pathetic buffoons”.
    You claim to be a man of the people Dan yet you sniff at the section of society that doesn’t best please you.
    We’re all in the poop together don’t pour scorn on someone because you don’t like their sartorial choices or your perception of their beliefs. Learn from that mistake Dan.

      1. A Person

        Let me guess. You like to fire bomb hotels in Leitrim? Oh, and no choice for women, everyone is corrupt except for you. And you support nothing except protest. You have no tangible ideas, and have made contribution to society in any form.

    1. Nigel

      She addresses the concerns of people who think George Soros is plotting to wipe out 90% of the world’s population.

      1. Richard Byrne

        Nigel with every respect, Gemma O’Doherty does communicate with people. For you preside the judgement as to what she communicates is only more of the same, divisiveness.
        The politics of division shouldn’t be peddled by someone like Dan Boyle who has a platform and claims to be in the trenches just like the rest of us. His smart comment about the DUP in particular is quite alarming when it seems it’s now our turn to say NO negotiation, NO concession.
        Furthermore – if Gemma O’Doherty is indeed as you say “addressing the concerns of people who think George Soros is plotting to wipe out 90% of the world’s population” and you don’t agree with this (nor do I) you are duty bound to ask her why that is so. Rather than snipe at her and those that agree with her.

        1. Nigel

          I’ll bloody well judge her if I want and if neither you nor she nor her racist teans-phobic anti-choice conspiracy-hungry audience don’t like it you can all feel free to submit a form to my complaints department which occupies four floors of my global corporate headquarters on 23 Go Feck Off For Yourself Street, Dublin Hate.

          1. Richard Byrne

            Sorry Nigel, I appreciate you’re loading your comments with some kind of humour or sarcasm but saying you’re against her & “her racist teans-phobic anti-choice conspiracy-hungry audience ” and meeting it with your own phobias, racism and conspiracy is (I would hope you could see) not in anyway productive. It’s divisive and it’s narrow minded.
            If you “bloody well judge” people you will be judged yourself.

            If I’ve misread your comment or misinterpreted your humour I apologise.

          2. Nigel

            You say this as if in judging others I don’t expect to be judged in turn. Exercising judgement is a basic human process and how we avoid falling for nonsense of the type she’s peddling. Platitudes like yours are, on the whole, useless except for the way they help enable nonsense. Scolding others for exercising judgement is the worst thing anyone can do when confronted with this kind of thing.

          3. Richard Byrne

            Nigel I’m not scolding you nor judging you and I apologise if that’s what you’ve interpreted. By using language like “Platitudes like yours are, on the whole, useless except for the way they help enable nonsense.” is entirely unhelpful and quite incorrect.
            I would be diametrically opposite in thought to Gemma O’Doherty on any amount of opinions but by simply waving your hand and saying “nonsense” gets you nowhere.

            Also are you not being either confused or hippocratic by maintaining – that “Scolding others for exercising judgement is the worst thing anyone can do” you’d be by your own definition “the worst thing” as you began this by pouring scorn on others judgement!!

          4. Nigel

            If you are opposed to her politics, then oppose her. She needs to be opposed. Also study on the difference between scorning an expressed judgement and scolding others for expressing a judgement. It’s quite crucial.

          1. Richard Byrne

            I would hope that would be self explanatory.
            Irregardless of the platform or the size of the audience the politics of division should not be used by anyone.

          2. ReproBertie

            Well you started out saying she communicates with people so perhaps you should find out what message exactly she is communicating with people.

          3. millie st murderlark

            You might want to take a look so. I’m not a twitter person myself, but her feed is something of an eye-opener.

          4. Richard Byrne

            I’ve watched her videos on this website and I’ve read articles on her website. I know what she communicates. I’m not defending her options.
            She connects with a large group of disaffected people. It’s not my place to judge those people, it’s not Dan Boyles place who similarly communicates with a large group of people to judge her and those who share her opinion by calling them ‘pathetic buffoons’. That creates division.
            If you think she is creating a sort of delusion for weak minded ‘buffoons’ isn’t the onus on you to correct that? A starting place would be to stop sneering and engage from the ground rather than a high horse.

          5. Nigel

            It is your place to judge those people. It is your right and even your duty as an engaged citizen to judge the politics of others and support or oppose them or compromise with them or whatever you choose. But you damn well need to be judging.

          6. Richard Byrne

            That’s intolerance Nigel and it achieves nothing. I’m your equal, you’re mine, Gemma O’Doherty, the people in the Fingal Battalion etc. Equals not better, not more right, not superior.
            If you’re judging people you can’t even begin to talk and it’s only by talking you’ll change opinion.

          7. ReproBertie

            She spews anti immigrant rhetoric.. What’s that thing about the triumph of evil and good men doing nothing?

          8. Yep

            Well there you go Richard. Even though you’re speaking reasonably, you are an “outsider” here and a treated as such by the people who scream about inclusion. Mind boggles.

          9. ReproBertie

            How is he being treated as an outsider? By being asked questions and having his position challenged? That’s what happens to everyone so, if anything, he’s being treated like everyone else.

          10. Nigel

            His tone is reasonable. What he’s saying is not. I’m assuming he’s a grown-up and can handle disagreement. But he seems to think me having opinions is a travesty and you think disagreeing with him is ostracising him somehow. You’re easily boggled.

          11. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            That’s a very nice, gentle attitude to have, Richard, but sometimes, when people are being appalling/ignorant/xenophobic/racist etc, then you call them out on it. Does that make you better than them? Yup. Screw ’em.

          12. ReproBertie

            “A starting place would be to stop sneering and engage from the ground rather than a high horse.”
            So judgmental.

          13. Yep

            I believe Richard is speaking about empathy. Regardless of the opposing view, we should see ourselves in others. Take a step back and think of what O’Doherty has gone through in the last however long. Lost her husband and career. Ostracized by former colleagues and friends. Vindicated there was a conspiracy against her by members of the establishment…all while trying to do the right thing.

            Is it any wonder she fell into a world of conspiracy and paranoia?

            Because she is not speaking in the narrow framework of a particular worldview there is no room for a charitable interpretation of why she has gone feet first into that world. A world with a tiny number of eople who if you speak to for any lengtg tend to have other stuff going on in my experience.

            Whatever you think Richard was saying, his tone was friendly, apologetic and willing to converse. Nigel, you came across as a snide ladypart. That’s my opinion.

          14. Nigel

            If I was a real snide ladypart I’d sarcastically whine about your failure to show empathy for me but that would be stupid. Empathy is not the same as acceptance or passivity in the face of toxic ideology and it does not preclude criticism and opposition. I have more respect for the gumption you show in attacking me than your pathetic cringing deference to the rise of a nasty ideology.

          15. Yep

            Remember we had a short discussion on gender reassignment for young children? I find your view worrying and would consider some aspects of it a “toxic ideology”. I approached the discussion willing to listen and more importantly try to understand why you felt that way.

            To be clear, I didn’t call you a ladypart, I said “came across as a snide ladypart”. I’m aware when I am mean on here it is usually me being in a bad mood more than a reaction to what I’m reading. However, I stand by what I said about how you came across to Richard. I don’t think he deserved the reaction from the people who went after him and to his credit he kept his cool.

            Also, I firmly believe people need to stop reacting to O’Doherty with this derision. Considering the turn around in such a short time, I think there is more going on and without trying to sound like a condescending ass I do worry for her.

            What ideology do you think is on the rise and why do you think it is happening?

          16. Nigel

            I don’t remember having any discussion with you about children and gender reassignment.
            I actually found Richard’s first comment incredibly patronising, I was not in the mood for being patronised, and his subsequent comments make it clear he is utterly unaware of what it is he is saying and why I find it objectionable. He is also hypocritical, selective and obtuse and while it’s nice that he’s being polite that only earns him so many brownie points. In fact I find all this finger-wagging about Gemma O’Doherty quite patronising – to her as well as to her critics. I’m treating her as a grown adult who is in full control of her faculties. I have not personally attacked her in any way, I have commented on what she has done and what she has said. She retweeted a thread by a guy who claimed that George Soros is plotting to kill 90% of humanity and enslave the survivors. This is our champion of anti-corruption? She’s anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-vaccines, transphobic and I sadly suspect she’s only going to get worse.Feel sorry for her all you want, believe it or not I feel pain for her every time I stumble across some new thing she’s saying or promoting, but I am aghast at her beliefs and those of her followers and I do not want to see them develop into a political cause in this, or any country.

          17. Yep

            The first comment has “We’re all in the poop together” to end and is not directed at you. The first reply begins with “Nigel with every respect”. In the context of the rest I think these statements are genuine. Maybe you wanted to be patronised. As I said, I sometimes come on here looking for a row. That’s my explanation/ reason to why you may be offended by my use of ladypart.

            ” I’m treating her as a grown adult who is in full control of her faculties”. Right. Weird how the judgement of such a state is so arbitrary and subjective, innit? Particularly when it’s counter to our own deep held beliefs, in a medium we can find anything to reinforce our own beliefs in every conceivable place on its spectrum.

            Speaking of which “anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-vaccines, transphobic”. How do I become one of these? You speak in absolutes so surely there are lines you can lay out that I can try not to cross. Even if you don’t remember, I think you think that I now have transphobia.

            How do I level up?

  7. Nilbert

    Dear Dan,

    Can you please provide a list of issues which we are allowed to protest, and the format the protest should take.
    Otherwise the plebs might not get the protest agenda right.

    “There is plenty airing these days of who and what most people are against. There is very little exposition on what most people are for.”

    You’ve some neck on you, I’ll give you that.

  8. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    People sure have a lot of sand in their aul whoopsies today.
    Where is the love? (the love)

  9. Dub Spot

    Gardai panic over – “Fingal” was misread as “Finglas”.

    Agree with Dan though.

    And, good man Dan for mentioning the elephant in the BS room: Gemma O’Doherty (GOD).

  10. Northern Pole Cats


    Should we protest against our so-called leaders when they lie to us?

    Or should we just accept their lies as gospel, even as those lies are told to enrich the liars at our expense?

    I think I know which you’d prefer…


    “With global warming, they could tax everyone for things they did every day from driving a car to heating and cooling their homes. Suddenly, global warming was a lot more profitable for government than global cooling.”


    “Gore set out to enact policies that would alter government and our future by placing humankind in harm’s way. Gore directed all funding to ensure that the climate change agenda became a top priority for the United States Government. Gore created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. The Charter was revised on April 25, 1997, and the “Scope of Activities” was dramatically altered. Gore directed that the agenda was to be EXCLUSIVELY a global warming agenda to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He claimed there would be NO DEBATE regarding the science behind the new agenda. Gore deliberately silenced all opposition.”


    “When physicist Dr. William Happer, who was the Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy, testified before Congress in 1993 in disagreement with Al Gore, he was instantly fired. Harper would later comment: “I had the privilege of being fired by Al Gore since I refused to go along with his alarmism. I did not need the job that badly.”


    ”What is really astonishing is that Al Gore is neither a scientist nor a climatologist. Yet, Gore is considered the leading expert despite the fact that Gore’s climate change agenda was nothing but a fraud and deliberately imposed to increase government power.”

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