Members of the Garda Riot Squad (Public Order Unit), during the National Emergency Service Parade in Dublin City Centre last September

This morning.

Via The Irish Council For Civil Liberties

ICCL travelled to Cork, Ennis and Dublin between 19 and 22 June to meet with environmental activists, anti-war protesters, anti-eviction groups, and activists living in Direct Provision. We also met with representatives of An Garda Síochána and relevant oversight bodies.

…We received reports of garda misuse of the Public Order Act (through arresting protesters and later dropping charges), of garda intimidation of protesters (through photography, following cars, harassment, and stop-and-search), of serious deficiencies in GSOC handling of complaints, and of gardaí imposing limits on where people can protest without a clear basis in law.

International standards state that sit-ins and meetings are protected by the right to protest and may extend to private spaces accessible to the public.

However, we heard a number of serious specific issues around protests at or near privately owned land – including during evictions and at Direct Provision centres.

We received reports that gardaí themeslves are evicting protesters from squats when media are not present. Protesters have also been arrested from public spaces such as city councils.

We received reports that gardaí have subjected those arrested at protests to treatment that interferes with their right to dignity, including psychological trauma, strip-searching and being forced to squat and cough.

Arrested protesters have allegedly been encouraged to give statements without lawyers present, and in some cases even denied access to their lawyers.

We are extremely concerned that the rights to assembly, to free expression and to free association are being curtailed by private operators of Direct Provision centres, allegedly with the support of An Garda Síochána.

Residents informed us that their meetings have been labelled “illegal”, that people have been escorted in handcuffs to public spaces where they are “allowed” to protest, and that food and benefits have been withheld in response to protests.

ICCL highlights urgent concerns for the right to protest following national consultation (ICCL)

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

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22 thoughts on “Heavy

          1. martco

            although there’s not much need out Sallynoggin direction at the moment…
            grey & 14C..oh hangon just gone up to 14.5

            no need to go down & jump in the 40 foot yet to swim with the poo at least

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Need some examples here. Absolutely it is everyone’s right to protest but let’s go back to the Love Ulster experience in 2006 and how badly-secured that was.

  2. Bebe

    This worries me. The right to peaceful protest must be protected. We Irish have taken so much hardship in recent times to our detriment; protesting is pretty new here. We must protect that right at all costs.

    1. Cian

      The right to peaceful protest must be protected.
      Where there are conflicting rights at stake we need to strike a balance. Some examples:
      1. A water-meter installer has the right to work, and not be intimidated or obstructed. A water-protester has the right to protest. Does the protester have the right to prevent the installer from working?
      2. A group of people are meeting in a hotel, they have the right to privacy. A protester has the right to protest. Does the protester have the right to invade the people’s privacy?
      3. Protesters are staging an on-street demonstration. A person needs urgent medical care – an ambulance. Does the protester’s right to protest supersede the person’s right to life?
      4. A TD’s husband and children have the right to come and go from their home without intimidation. A protester has the right to protest.
      5. A woman has a right to an abortion. A protestor has a right to protest. Should we prevent protests outside abortion clinics?

      I don’t think there is a simple rule that all peaceful protests must be protected. There are nuances. Not all of these are the same:
      a. Peaceful protest outside a council building – not obstructing traffic
      b. Peaceful protest outside a council building – obstructing traffic
      c. Peaceful protest inside a council building – in a ‘public’ area – during public opening hours
      d. Peaceful protest inside a council building – in a ‘public’ area – at night
      e. Peaceful protest inside a council building – in a ‘private’ office

      1. newsjustin

        Well done for raising the elephant in the room. The ICCL’s welcome intervention is timely and important. But, bizarrely, they fail to mention the one area where Government are actively looking at designing ways to curtail peaceful protest in public places – namely at medical centres carrying out abortions. It’s hard to have a serious conversation about this topic without considering this. Just in the last few days it seems the Government have admitted to being out of line with our EU partners in trying to do this:

        For the record, a woman does have a legal right to an abortion in Ireland and people have a right to peaceful protest. These are not contradictory, competing rights.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          Antichoice gowls don’t have the right to intimidate and threaten people going into hospital or their doctor. How do your jackbooters differentiate between a a woman or girl having a post cancer checkup and one attending fo a termination? You don’t so you pester and scare both because you hate the fact that you lost control over women last year.

          1. newsjustin

            Silent, peaceful protest does none of that. And I agree entirely, no one has any right to intimidate or threaten anyone.

          2. Daisy Chainsaw

            Does it bolleaux! People brandishing gore porn in front of hospitals is intimidating as well as disgusting. Creepy antis filming patients has no place in decent society.

          3. newsjustin

            Neither of which have happened, not even close, at any abortion provider in Ireland since the new legislation arrived. As I’m sure you know.

          4. Daisy Chainsaw

            How many of these intimidations have you been on? Antis are wearing bodycams as “protection”, but they’re filming people without permission. The goreporn peddlers didn’t respond to a GDPR request over data they held on cameras. Who’s to say what the weirdoes protesting will do with it.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        They can beat you black, blue, orange, purple, yellow, red and green and still tickle you pink.

  3. phil

    Its not just the Gardai, plenty of civilians and the press have a poor attitude to protests…

    1. Ian-O

      So long as a protest is peaceful and respectful I see no issue with it.

      Any violence or public slander should be dealt with under the relevant legislation.

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