Archive for the ‘Hypocrisy’ Category

Circumventing circuses
Lamenting in protest
To visible police
Presence sponsored fear
Battalions of riot police
With rubber bullet kisses
Baton courtesies
Service with a smile

[From “Deer Dance” by System of a Down]

This is a piece that I’ve awaited the opportunity to write forever.

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in the tale at many diverse levels and can thus narrate it in a way that is both broad and very focussed. I’m a busy little subversive!

Despite my boast above, it’s impossible to feel unique or special. It is my peers in this tale who are deserving of respect. They were the ones who bore the brunt of the blowback that facilitates the privilege I have in putting this piece of history into words.

It’s an amazing story. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of resolute and active republicans (and others) offering an Irish judge a thunderous round of applause, in an Irish courtroom. That’s the end of the tale and that’s why I’m telling it first. You might consider it a spoiler. I promise you it’s not. There’s another piece of information missing that will take its impact from the unbelievable, to the absolutely amazing.

It all kicked off innocently enough. I was talking with my friend, Raymond, it was the 19th or 20th of May, 2011. We were chatting about some of the videos that had appeared, of certain arrests made when Elizabeth came to town. Steven Bennett was all over Youtube. He’d been arrested whilst taking pictures of the goings on. Another mental video (that we’re unable to find – by the time we knew that it was needed, it’d long since disappeared from Youtube) showed a gentleman being very violently arrested by multiple gardaí. It also showed a young woman protesting about the violence of the arrest. She was arrested too, none too gently either. Raymond told me that I knew the young man in the video; Sofian Murphy, a young activist I’ve a lot of respect for. I couldn’t fathom him doing anything that warranted that type of treatment by the gardaí. Anyhow, time passed, both cases, against Steven and Sofian were struck out, so I let the matter drop from my mind. The prosecution had failed to honour the Court’s order for the evidence to be handed over to the defendants.

So, like I said, I forgot about the matter. One bright day in late September or early October, the following year, I was in the company of Madam K and we were into some form of devilment or other. We met a young lady who knew Madam K. She was familiar to me, I’d seen a tiny part of her performance for Occupy Dame Street and if talk was to be believed, she was an up and coming star. Anyhow, we learned that she’d been arrested too, on the day in question, 17th May 2011. It clicked with me instantly: she’d been the lady who’d been bodily hauled by the gardaí because she’d dared to be disgusted at the violence used against Sofian, during his arrest. The young lady said that the Evening Herald had recently published an article that claimed that she was being prosecuted in the matter. She’d at that time, not received a summons. She asked that I meet up with her and her manager, to discuss some possibilities.

I was appalled. This was a very dirty trick by the State. There are only a few possibilities with regard to the origin of the article in the Herald. The DPP told them, the gardaí told them or someone involved in processing the summons to be, told them. The young lady in question who had secured one of the best known managers on the planet, was due to head to the US to perform in some pretty prestigious events and venues. Get a conviction, especially when the conviction has to do with protest, it can be very hard to get into the US…

The young lady and her manager procured some professional legal help and I went in search of evidence and eye witnesses. With the help of Raymond, this was accomplished in short order. I found out that the video where I’d seen her protest against the violence of Sofian’s arrest had disappeared at this point. Raymond then went about attending each of the mention dates in Court, once the summons had been served and the matter commenced. I was up to my neck in other stuff at the time and practically every mention date coincided with other events of importance.

Raymond caught up with Steven Bennett and Sofian Murphy. Their cases had come back from the dead too. Steven was representing himself. As a longtime and experienced activist, he knows his way around a courtroom. He’d recently succeeded in defending himself in another case and he was keen to do the same in this one. He asked if Raymond and myself would lend a hand in this one, as the amount of evidence to consider was going to be colossal. I became his McKenzie.

A little while later, in December of 2012, I got a call from Raymond. We needed to hook up. We’d had a Gary Doyle order complied with and had received close to 80 statements, pictures and video evidence that spanned 12 DVDs. We had to decide how to analyse everything and how to distribute the workload. That was easy I thought, Raymond could do it! As it turned out, that’s not too far from what actually happened.

Raymond scanned all the documents, one of which was a forensics report on a bomb and he used OCR software on the material that it could be used on. The result was an extensive database of evidence that was searchable. This in turn facilitated a forensic examination of these documents that would have completely frustrated an eyes-only approach. All sorts of interesting patterns and pictures started to appear. Way more about that later!

At the same time, Raymond was trying to examine and copy the video evidence contained on the 12 DVDs. He informed myself and Steven that more than half of the discs were unreadable. He said that the fact that the discs were unreadable was the fault of whoever produced them. When Raymond tells you something like this your ears prick up. Raymond’s an expert on optical media and I doubt that there are many with his degree of expertise in the country. He was a leading expert on the matter for a major software multi-national at one point. So like I said, when he says there’s a problem, that’s provably the fault of the State, you bloody well listen.

I want to step backwards in time at this point. So that I might provide the framework to the vista that provided a backdrop to what I was looking at. Normally I look at cases in isolation. This particular case cannot be looked at in that fashion. When one looks at this case in isolation, one only sees the associated unfairness of it. When looked at in tandem with what was happening at the time of Elizabeth’s trespass, the State’s malfeasance is clear and its obvious deliberation cries out for examination and a response.

There’s a thing in law that’s known as “reasonable suspicion.” Most people are familiar with it, it’s often called “probable cause” in movies etc. There are many ways to consider reasonable suspicion. To me, it’s very simple. Without reasonable suspicion the gardaí could demand identification upon a whim or a desire. They could search you. They could detain you. There are certain situations however, where the State can and does suspend basic liberties. A Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoint (a MAT checkpoint) for example. However, the suspension of a need for there to be a reasonable suspicion is a very solemn matter and an inspector must sign a document that precisely defines the geographical location of the checkpoint and this document must be produced in court in any prosecution that the checkpoint facilitates.

I made a video with Madam K when the queen came to town. We’ve shown how the Public Order Act was misused to suspend these basic freedoms, specifically Section 21. Section 21 requires a reasonable suspicion to search somebody. People were conned into believing that the gardaí had a right to demand that they submit to a search. We’ve gone into this in more detail and you see it here:

The point is that the State had the gardaí ensure that anyone who was not pleased to have the British queen here was not getting anywhere near her route and destination. Most other folks, who were just going about their lawful business also, were caught up in this fascism too, as they were subjected to arbitrary stops and searches. The gardaí violated basic rights and ethnically cleansed the centre of Dublin to ensure that Lizzie wasn’t upset by anything she might see. The whole thing was a lie. The picture presented was one of reconciliation and of acceptance. The true picture was that a bunch of thugs, using batons, pepper spray, fists and crimes, acted to prevent a demonstration that would have established in no uncertain terms that Lizzie was not welcome in Dublin.

There was nearly a mini riot up at Dorset Street. The gardaí allowed that to peter out and go on its merry way. They then picked on those who hadn’t been, for the very most part, involved in the fun and games. Arrests followed.

Elsewhere, Madam K was getting hassled for having the audacity to be carrying a tiny Irish flag. I was meandering somewhere else, we’d split up to gather as much footage as possible, and I was filming various instances of rights violations and harassment.

Steven Bennett was attempting to make his way to join Éirígí in their protest. Madam K and I also planned to join them. We’d caught up with them earlier in the day beside the Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell street. At that time I filmed Madam K give a loud and very nuanced rendition of “God Save the Queen,” for what we suspected was either a group of British agents or some deep-cover gardaí in the vicinity. After that, we retired to the Kylemore for some much needed coffee. We figured that we had plenty of time to rejoin Éirígí at the Spire. We figured wrong. All hell broke loose as the gardaí effectively kettled the group. Shortly after this, a large crowd could be heard coming up Henry Street, chanting various anti-queen slogans as they marched to join their comrades at the Spire. The gardaí quickly mobilised to completely block off and separate Henry Street from O’Connell Street. As the new arrivals came face to face with the garda blockage at Henry Street, the good folks at the Spire made their move. They quickly moved towards Henry Street and they expertly and efficiently executed a wedge manoeuvre, forcing their way out of the kettle and straight through the centre of the gardaí blocking their access to Henry Street. I filmed flags, banners and the odd garda hat fly into the air as the gardaí tried for all their worth to batter and injure the activists. Brian Leeson and his comrades didn’t leave one single activist behind as they broke through and joined their friends on the other side.

From there, Éirígí and their supporters made their way to Parnell Square. That’s where myself, Madam K and a host of other activists joined them later, before the British monarch’s arrival. We all knew that Éirígí intended to protest without violence. That’s why most activists joined them on the day. Éirígí were true to their word and they ejected the few people who threw stuff at the gardaí as the car bearing Lizzie made its way up O’Connell Street. They ejected them immediately. Despite this I witnessed many Éirígí activists abused by gardaí over the next few days.

The gardaí have long held a particular dislike for republicans, I was reminded of that by all of this. The full picture of what was going on now serves me as the defining example, any time I contemplate the depth of this prejudice.

The gardaí allege that Steven Bennett was arrested after he failed or refused to comply with a direction given to him under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. The alleged direction was that he immediately leave the area. It was allegedly broadcast from a loudspeaker on a garda van and it was allegedly issued by a garda who was allegedly acting under the orders of his superior to broadcast the demand. There is no evidence whatsoever, in any of the garda evidence, that either the superior officer or the garda who shouted the demand, even saw Steven, much less that either of them saw him engaging in behaviour that would have allowed them to make the Section 8 demand. In other words, there’s not a scintilla of garda evidence to suggest that the gardaí had any business in ordering Steven away from the area and similarly, there’s nothing to suggest that Steven was obliged, legally or otherwise, to leave the area, even if he had heard the alleged order. We felt that if this matter had gone to court, that this argument alone would have sufficed to vindicate him. Of course that’s just one of a bunch of arguments that would have done the job. I’d also like to add that this pattern of the gardaí misusing the Public Order Act, constituted the evidence to be used against the majority of those who were persecuted by the DPP in this matter. It’s my humble opinion that had these farces gone to trial, that they’d all have been thrown out, if a reasonable judge got to try them.

In the video that Steven has on his Youtube channel, the video that’d he’d not have been allowed to show to the Court, you can see Steven is close to the wall of Whelan’s Hardware, photographing armoured gardaí as they march threateningly towards protesters. One of the armoured thugs assaults Steven. Immediately after that, Steven is grabbed by the thugs and dragged behind them where lots of gardaí can be seen to jump on him. At this point his camera/phone was dropped by him and picked up by a garda. The camera/phone has not been seen or heard from since. There is no demand to leave the area, emanating from a garda van to be heard on this video.

The prisoner was eventually placed in a transport and conveyed to the Bridewell garda station. He was searched and separated from his remaining belongings, including a €50 note whose company he was never to enjoy again.

It wasn’t long until the veteran campaigner realised that this was no ordinary arrest. Shortly after this realisation began to dawn on him, he was taken outside to another transport and brought to Cloverhill where he was locked up with a few other prisoners. He had no idea what crimes the other prisoners were alleged to have committed, nobody was saying much and there was an uneasy quiet.

Later in the evening Steven, along with a number of other prisoners arrested in similar circumstances, were paraded before Justice Patrick Clyne. Steven wasn’t very impressed with the judge at the time. Another defendant told me that the judge had been a “right prick.” Steven’s bail was set at €300. He obviously didn’t have that, indeed, he had €50 less than he thought he had. He had to spend a sleepless night in a cell in Cloverhill. His daughter arrived the next morning, paid his bail and rescued her father. On top of this, Steven was banned from many areas in Dublin. At the time, Steven was attending a series of meetings with “Real Democracy Now.” He wanted to attend but now he couldn’t. Steven was one of the first people to arrive at Dame Street and Real Democracy Now arrived shortly after to form the Occupation of Dame Street. When the charges against him eventually died and were subsequently resurrected, there was no application to reimpose these punitive bail conditions. This goes to show the temperament of the State, in its initial reaction to those who’d been arrested and associated with disputing the welcome given to Lizzie. Had there been such an application, it would have been fought with a clarity of mind that Steven wasn’t afforded at the time of setting the initial bail conditions. It’s quite likely that had this argument ensued, Steven would have won it, considering the fact that the Court was eventually disposed to referring to all of the charges against all of the defendants as “trivial matters.”

From the garda perspective, when this matter first went to court, this was a massively complex issue with hundreds of gardaí involved and the security and reputation of the State at stake. To Steven, it was a matter of simplicity; a violation of his basic rights. The judge granted Gary Doyle orders. A Gary Doyle order is similar to a discovery order in civil litigation. The State must hand over copies of all evidence they have in relation to the defendant’s alleged crime. Time and time again, the State failed to hand over this material, citing the alleged complexity of the matter as the reason for the failure. Finally, when the time arrived to actually try the matters, for some of the defendants, the gardaí still had not complied with the Court’s order to produce the evidence. The judge, rightly at this point, threw each and every case out.

There is a law, the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act 1851, that states that a defendant must be brought before a magistrate, before six months have passed from the date of the alleged offence. Modern legislation has amended this to ensure that a summons must be applied for before the six month limit in all matters of summary judgement. In other words, in a District Court prosecution, if it proceeds on foot of a summons, the summons must have been applied for within the six month time limit.

Sergeant Waters, who seems to have had little to do with the matter to this point, applied for summonses, one day before the six month time limit was due to elapse. I must say that it is not my intention to cast any shadows on Sergeant Waters’ character. I had few dealings with him. But where our paths did cross I found him to be pleasant and decent minded (more about that later). The cases were running again, despite the fact that each and every defendant thought the matter finished.

Many months after all the cases were thrown out, as I’ve already recounted, I encountered Miss Elaine Harrington, aka Temper-Mental Miselayneous.

The State’s evidence against Elaine was that she’d been sitting on the ground, playing a bodhrán and was reciting poetry. They claimed that her poetry was incitement and that she was making “gang signs.” How she made these signs is unclear, what with playing the bodhrán. Anyhow, she was not charged with membership of an illegal organisation. The gang signs have not been described, so I’m at a loss and would welcome anyone out there to bring to my attention any example of one of these signs that would have relevance in Ireland. Elaine was not charged with incitement either.

There is no doubt that Elaine has a way with words and that she performs them in a way that demands notice and respect. But I do not hear or feel incitement. I find the evidence against Elaine to be highly provocative and thoroughly ignorant. And to be very blunt, I find this to be even more intolerable, given that it can be proven that the evidence against her, the most important evidence, is a complete and utter act of fabrication.

Elaine’s one and only offence on the day was that she was not afraid of the gardaí despite their brutality and that she was not prepared to stand silently by as a young man was brutalised by multiple thugs in armour.

When I met with Frank Murray, Elaine’s manager, he was very concerned about Elaine’s prospects, should she be convicted. Elaine was not present at this meeting so Frank was very frank in spelling out his hopes and dreams for her and his fears too. I might add that Frank is no amateur. Frank managed Kirsty McColl, the Pogues and Thin Lizzy to but touch on the influence this man has had on music. Indeed, in my days as a musician, I’d have given both my legs just for the opportunity to meet with him. It suffices to say that Elaine had a lot at stake and that the pressure put on her by the thoughts of having her dreams and accomplishments shattered must have been soul destroying.

The young man whose shameful arrest inspired Elaine Harrington to outrage was Sofian Murphy. I really like Sofian. He’s a gentleman, who every time I meet him, convinces me that he’s never coming up for air! He’s always going somewhere or coming from somewhere to go somewhere else. He’s a very affable man, with a keen social conscience, who’ll offer a helping hand wherever and whenever it’s needed, regardless as to what it might cost him.

According to garda evidence, he’s a man to be feared. According to their evidence, he’s the type of guy who will attack you with a bicycle in one hand and a steel garda barricade in the other. I’d guess that Sofian weighs less than 10 stone…

The most compelling evidence that the State had against Sofian was a truck load of video evidence. The most compelling part of this evidence is where Sofian, on his bicycle, stops right in front of a garda van that is just about to do a 180º turn and rapidly exit the area, following a number of other garda vans who’d done likewise. There was a large number of civilians present, some of them throwing stuff at the gardaí in front of them. These garda vans had pulled in behind the crowd and had rapidly reassessed their planning. It cannot be disputed that when Sofian came to a stop, that some folks attacked the garda van with kicks, wallops and debris. The video shows Sofian moving and the garda van is seen to accelerate into a right turn that was very lucky not to have resulted in either a casualty or a serious injury to either Sofian or the others in the immediate vicinity. As the van exits the camera’s view, a bicycle can be seen to be flying at the van and bouncing off the side of it. The bicycle in question, sailed over Sofian’s head to accomplish this. Sofian was still on his own bike at the time. Sofian was not charged with obstruction.

On top of that, no garda statement mentions this incident in evidence against Sofian.

Another way to see this particular footage, to add a full range of possibilities, is that Sofian was cycling away from what was becoming a potentially hazardous situation. He was nearly hit by the garda van as it attempted its illegal manoeuvre. He stopped to remonstrate with the idiots who nearly ploughed into him. Seeing the potential hazard that was developing for the gardaí as people attacked the van, he quickly turned his bicycle and attempted to get out of the way.

Short of that particular incident, I see nothing whatsoever to suggest that Sofian needed to be prosecuted. Quite a few garda statements disagree with this view, but there’s nothing with regard to video evidence to support their allegations.

I spoke with Diarmuid Breatnach, who’d been in the vicinity of Sofian’s arrest. He didn’t see the actual arrest, but he’d witnessed bodies being bundled into vans. A few minutes after Sofian was arrested, a resident of the area approached a garda who was close to the scene of the arrest. The resident, a lady, was carrying a running shoe, a hat and a bicycle lock. She informed the garda that the items belonged to the gentleman who’d just been arrested. The garda told her to bin them. Diarmuid asked her for the items and told her that he’d return them to their owner. He subsequently made a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman Paintjob and the complaint, as expected, went nowhere. The Ombudsman’s reply to Diarmuid was that the complaint “ is inadmissible on the grounds that the behaviour alleged is not of such a nature that it would, if proved, amount to a breach of Garda discipline.” The items were returned to Sofian at a later date, after Diarmuid had gone to a lot of trouble to ascertain who owned them. The running shoe was of no use to him as its partner had been taken from him when he arrived at the garda station. He was given some footware that was many sizes too large. The bicycle lock was of little use to him. At the time of his arrest, the gardaí just left the bicycle where it fell. To quote Diarmuid on this widespread and disturbing practice: “Apparently there is nothing wrong in a Garda officer not only refusing to take charge of the property of a person he has arrested on the street but in addition instructing a member of the public to dispose of it.”



Don’t open your eyes you won’t like what you see
The blind have been blessed with security
Don’t open your eyes take it from me
I have found
You can find
Happiness in slavery

[From “Happiness in Slavery” by Nine Inch Nails]

In January of this year, I attended one of the few mention dates that I’d attended since this whole sorry debacle started.

Judge Clyne, the judge who’d initially imposed bail conditions on the some eight defendants present was back for the first time, since that time. He was quite surprised and just as concerned that these matters were still before the Court. A barrister for one of the defendants complained to the judge that she had still not received copies of pepper spray reports from the State. The DPP claimed that these reports were privileged. The argument then shifted to the delay in prosecuting these matters. One of the barristers for one of the defendants made an application to have the matter concerning his client struck out because of the monumental delay. He cited relevant case law and developed his argument. Judge Clyne was quite familiar with the case law and went on to explain the meanings of judicial delay, prosecutorial delay and systemic delay, for the knowledge of those in the courtroom. The DPP attempted a counter argument that was long winded, repetitive and in my opinion, very far off the mark. Judge Clyne decided at this point that it’d be fairer for everyone concerned (especially the DPP) if a hearing was convened where everyone would get to make an argument regarding delay and prejudice, general and specific. He proposed a date. Judge Clyne is a moveable judge and his schedule is mental, so there were only a few possibilities available. A date that was fixed didn’t suit Steven at all. Elaine Harrington had been separated from the group at an earlier point and her trial date had been fixed. It was important, Steven, Raymond and I had concluded, that Steven’s trial and her trial should be heard at the same time, so that certain defences would become available, that in other circumstances would not have been usable or as effective. Steven was due to make an application to have his hearing at the same time as Elaine’s. But this changed absolutely everything. Instead Steven made an application that the Judge hear arguments prior to the date of Elaine’s trial, so that he’d not be prejudiced by either having to miss out on the defences available via Elaine’s trial, or be forced to miss the opportunity to take part in the hearing that Judge Clyne had convened. The judge said to the DPP: “I understand that, do you?” once Steven had made his application. This pre-empted the DPP from needlessly and ineffectively attacking Steven’s argument, a preoccupation with her that was becoming evident to all. The judge fixed a suitable date and all was set. The added bonus was that now Elaine’s legal team would be able to take part in the special hearing, once they’d made a motion to set aside her hearing date.

On the next day there were nine defendants.

Unfortunately there was no Judge Clyne. Instead we had Judge Coughlan. I’ve seen Coughlan in action lots of times and would describe his judicial ability by describing him as an arsehole. Indeed, only last month, Coughlan appeared in a Youtube video filmed by some renegade or other where the good Judge spends most of his time screaming at a defendant to “shut up.” For good measure, the judge didn’t allow the defendant the opportunity to mount a defence before moving to convict him. The barristers for the other defendants didn’t want Coughlan to hear their arguments because Judge Clyne had taken charge of the matter and had already heard partial arguments. We didn’t want Coughlan to hear the arguments for different reasons, having to do with what we thought of him. Coughlan agreed to not hear the matter despite an impassioned argument from the DPP that basically stated that if we were so concerned about delay that we’d not be introducing it ourselves. In fairness to the DPP, this was best argument she had to offer, in all her mindless rhetoric, including her alleged arguments at the actual hearing.

As Judge Coughlan was about to leave, Raymond leaned over and whispered to me the name of a defendant who’d long since been separated from the main group and whose address we were unaware of. “Ah fuck!” I thought to myself. It was too late to have a chat with Steven and have him make an application, the judge was nearly out of the room. I stood and addressed the judge’s back. He turned around and stared at me. I asked him if he’d remind the DPP that there was a defendant and his legal representatives who were unaware of the special hearing and that they might like to be made aware of it. I addressed the judge as I felt it might be unwise to approach the DPP directly. She might well have attempted to have me charged for interfering.

The DPP immediately went on the offensive. She launched into the right of legal representatives to determine, along with their clients, all legal strategies and pursuits. The judge began to parrot her waffle at me in rebuke. Sergeant Waters must have got my point, that being that legal practitioners and their clients cannot make any determinations regarding matters they are ignorant of. He declared at this point that he’d ensure that the defendant and his representatives knew of the upcoming hearing. This didn’t phase Coughlan at all, he just continued to rant his nonsense at me. My job accomplished, I sat down in the middle of his tirade. Fuck him. Aint nobody paying me to listen to his shit. And there’s no wage that’d cover it.

I was impressed with the Sergeant’s decency, especially since he displayed it at a time when it was going against Coughlan and the DPP.

The next sitting, still no Judge Clyne. The DPP made the same stupid argument and was ignored. The date was fixed for the 12th of April in Court 44 of the Bridewell.

Before I go into the details of the hearing itself, which I promise will be relatively short, I want to bring up some outstanding issues.

Steven had his argument prepared at the time that Judge Clyne had first failed to appear. It was written down, so I’m in a position to publish it now, here it is (I should add that the second part of the first argument was not included at this time. I was talking to a friend of mine, one of the barristers for one of the other defendants. I was given some new case law and this is what facilitated the second part of the first argument.):

1. Judge, in my first application I’m relying on the matters discussed on pages 9, 10 and 11 of the McFarlane case.

The court initially struck out these present cases because of blameworthy delay. I did not at any point inform the court of any prejudice that hindered my ability to present a defence. It is therefore my submission that the court presumed prejudice on my behalf, as is described in the pages of the McFarlane judgement that I have indicated to you.

It is my understanding, that in proceeding with these cases, that the court is in effect, overturning the Court’s earlier judgement that presumed a prejudice and it is my understanding that this court does not have the jurisdiction to overturn a decision of a fellow District Court judge. In other words Judge, I say this matter is improperly before the Court and that the Prosecution should have applied to the High Court to overturn the District Court’s presumption of prejudice before attempting to resurrect this dead thing here.

To further this argument Judge, I shall approach the matter from another angle. This time, I shall rely on the ruling of Justice Herbert from the Judicial Review, Stephen Heaney v Judge Brady and the DPP, from 2007, with the judgement in same delivered in November in 2009.

Judge, after the matters presently before the court were struck out, the sergeant applied for new summonses, a day before the 6 month time limit elapsed, we’re told. We have also been told that there was subsequently a problem with these summonses, but we’re not told what the nature of that problem was. In any event, new summonses issued and here we are. From the scant details we do possess, one thing is very clear: The summonses applied for, a day before the 6 month limit, did not die a natural death. They did not lapse. On page 11 of the Heaney judgement we have the following:

The forgoing authorities establish that a District Judge who issued a summons on foot of a complaint made to him or her or to him within the statutory period of six months may, where that summons has not been served and has lapsed or been struck out, issue a fresh summons on a subsequent application made outside the period of six months, based upon the initial complaint having been made within that period. They also establish that an appropriate District Court Office which has issued a summons (whether inside or outside the statutory six-month period), on foot of an application made by an authorised person within the statutory period, may issue a fresh summons on a subsequent application by such a person outside the statutory period, provided that the original summons had not been served and had lapsed.

The current summonses have issued despite the fact that their predecessors did not lapse. The normal counter argument that says an appearance fixes any defect in a summons does not repair the fact that this matter is improperly before the Court.

2. My second application Judge, has to do with prejudice also. It is my belief that some of this prejudice applies generally to all the cases before the Court.

I found video evidence Judge, that’s now on my Youtube page, that I say establishes that my arrest was an unlawful arrest. Unfortunately for me Judge, I do not possess the original of this footage and due to the passage of time it is not available to me. Thus this footage is inadmissible. This has disabled my ability to defend myself to the point of unfairness. It also goes towards proving that I had possessions on me at the time of my arrest, that are not recorded on the custody record. I still have not recovered my possessions.

Furthermore Judge, the Court ordered the prosecution to turn over its relevant video evidence to the defendants. This evidence arrived on 12 discs Judge. Of those 12 discs, 7 of them were unreadable, due to improper labelling and for other reasons, the fault of the prosecution. Indeed, this improper labelling had the propensity to damage equipment that tried to read them. Of the 7, I have managed to have the contents of 2 of them recovered. To remedy this matter Judge, will require yet more delay. Delay that is prosecutorial, and it is blameworthy delay. Of the 7 discs of video footage I have access to, there are but a few seconds of the video evidence that is somewhat relevant to my case, the rest, the vast majority of it, is superfluous and irrelevant.

On the last occasion this Court sat we were informed that part of the delay experienced had to do with the complexities of the cases and co-ordinating garda witnesses.

The State has supplied me with 80 odd statements. Many of them are unsigned and are not dated. Of the statements that are signed and dated, it can be established that the statements were completed well before the commencement of the Winter of 2011. It would seem to me that garda co-ordination was complete before the year of 2012 had even begun.

Furthermore, and still on the matter of these statements. The vast majority of these statements have nothing whatsoever to do with my case. Indeed, included with the treasure trove supplied by the State, there is included a forensics report with regard to an explosive device and its associated statements. For the life of me Judge, I cannot establish any present case that this material is relevant to. It is superfluous. It is, I submit, only there in an attempt to add colour to the State’s alleged cases. On top of this Judge, forcing an untrained litigant to have to study material of no relevance, is an abuse of process and an attempt to abuse me. It forces delay, and this is the least of what it attempts to force, into my defence. When sifted Judge, the material relevant to my case is short, simple and straightforward. My case should take no more than 15 minutes or so to hear, as is the norm with such cases. The complexity the State speaks of is purely to do with adding superfluous material that adds unnecessary complexity and that’s where the alleged complexity arises.

Part of the evidence handed over by the State says that two pepper spray reports have been submitted by the gardaí. The State says that the reports themselves are privileged. I have case law here Judge, if the Court wishes to see it, that establishes that neither the DPP nor any other officer of the Court has the authority to declare any evidence privileged, that it is a matter for the presiding judge to decide, having examined the relevant evidence himself or herself.

In fairness Judge, I’m not claiming that either pepper spray report has any relevance in my case. On the other hand, the admission that the pepper spray reports exist, leads me to an interesting and very relevant conclusion. There is no admission of baton reports. It is my understanding Judge, and I’m sure the sergeant can correct me if I’m wrong, that when an officer draws his baton, it is mandatory that he or she produces a baton report. There is no acknowledgement of the existence of any baton report produced. There is no actual baton report supplied to me by the prosecution. Many of the statements handed over contain admissions that gardaí produced batons on the day in question. I require the reports and they have not been supplied, indeed there is no indication that they even exist. I require those reports for my defence and it seems to me that I should have received them already and that getting them at this stage will introduce yet more unfair delay into proceedings.

To conclude Judge, the MacFarlane case points out, as indeed you yourself pointed out on the last occasion, that the Court has much less tolerance for delay in cases that aren’t of an extremely serious nature. These cases Judge, despite the prosecution trying to paint them as very serious matters, what with forensic evidence of explosives etc. remain simple matters of public order that are about to drag into their third year due to malingering, inordinate and inexcusable delay.

Judge, I have made these submissions out of a sense of fairness and out of concern for the rights of my fellow defendants. I believe that it is proper that the Court be fully informed as to the nature of these cases. I therefore mean no disrespect whatsoever, when I withdraw each and every submission that I’ve made, in so far as they relate to me personally. Another thing this delay has compounded Judge, is an absolute sense of outrage. Despite the prejudice I believe I have established, I believe I can still defend my case and it is my explicit intent to wipe the floor with the prosecution and its witnesses. I ask you Judge, to allow my case to proceed so that I might fully clear my good name and not have to rely on a technicality to kill the case that would still leave a taint in as far as my good name is concerned. I realise the difficulty that this presents Judge, should you agree with my submissions, especially since I have argued to establish that this matter is improperly before the Court, but I see no alternative to my making of this request.

Thank you Judge.

Links to case law used:

The McFarlane Case:

The Heaney Case:

The Shell Case (Only a judge can declare privilege):

As can be seen, Steven was pursuing a very ballsy course of action.

I should point out that Steven only got to go into a tiny part of his argument, about the DVDs supplied by the State, with Judge Clyne. The rest of his arguments remain untested by the Court. The first part of the first argument would have been a controversial one. When the cases were initially binned, they were binned because the prosecution had failed to comply with the Gary Doyle order. The judge said nothing about delay and the Court would be very unlikely to want to guess at the Judge’s reasoning. We were going to argue that whether or not the Court agreed that it was essentially delay that had caused the cases to be binned, that the presumption of prejudice was self-evident and that regardless as to whether the Court considered delay to be the cause, that the result presumed prejudice and that the argument from that point onwards was a moot one.

The bomb. This story would be incomplete if I were to ignore this. It gives me a lot of pleasure to take the State’s intention to sensationalise the evidence against the defendants and use it to sensationalise the defendant’s victory instead.

There’s a forensics report. The bomb was apparently not intended to be a bomb. It was a type of device that was well known to be part of the republican arsenal. At the very same time gardaí have never seen a device like it before. Confused? Good! It was allegedly intended to be a firearm, but it was so badly constructed that it would have failed in this primary purpose, and thus, the bullet would have merely exploded instead, had the firing mechanism functioned. The first problem that this improvised firearm would have encountered was the lack of a metal barrel. The barrel of a gun allows for aim and provides that the forces produced during firing are controlled and they thrust the projectile in a specific direction, giving the bullet a greater range. Within reason, the longer the barrel the greater the range. The barrel of this particular weapon was manufactured out of flour, water and some other secret ingredients. Bread. Rather than have the weapon fire by means of depressing a trigger, this particular gun used a circuit board to act as a timer. In other words, the weapon would be more than useless if it was used defensively. Aside from its basic lack of functionality, this particular design flaw would have made the potential for an offensive action, at its very best, a very frustrating one.

Anyhow, the gardaí, once they’d assessed the lethality of this lead sandwich, had the army bomb disposal unit blow the shit out of it. The forensics report was compiled from a replica sandwich prepared by the gardaí.

Not one statement, or any other evidence suggests that any of the defendants had anything to do with, or any knowledge of this indigestion inducing baguette. The State planted this device into the evidence against the defendants. The State would have you believe that someone ordered a subordinate to “take a Bap and blow the fucking head off the queen!” The poor unfortunate thought their commander was referring to a tasty treat. The rest is histrionics.

There’s nothing to suggest that the gardaí didn’t plant the actual device. After all, they’ve plenty of form in planting explosives to both secure false convictions and gain undeserved praise and credit. In fact, this point has more relevance to the truth than any suggestion that this alleged evidence was relevant to the alleged crimes of Steven Bennett, or any of the other defendants. Remember, that this evidence was handed over on foot of a Gary Doyle order. It masquerades as relevant evidence, but in reality, it is an indictment of both the DPP and the gardaí.

There was another bullet too. Someone tried to shoot a sergeant by throwing it at the fucker. Republicans just aren’t what they used to be… The sergeant’s instinctive urge to gather and preserve evidence had him pick it up and immediately hand the round around to his subordinates so that they could get their trotters all over it and destroy any potential to collect fingerprint evidence or any other forensic material. Like the sandwich, there’s no suggestion that this fuck up of the highest calibre had any relevance to any of the defendants’ cases.

The half of the video evidence that could be viewed confirmed a long held belief. When gardaí using video cameras or pole-mounted street cameras film an incident, they almost always pan the camera away from the scene when the suspect is being arrested. For the very most part, the camera is panned to something of no evidential value whatsoever, dead space. It is practically unassailable, the argument that suggests that gardaí do not want to gather evidence of arrests. The reasoning behind this particular reluctance is self-evident and it is a matter that requires urgent attention.

RTE supplied some footage to the gardaí. Some of this footage was relevant in Steven’s case, though it went nowhere in as far as showing any wrongdoing on his part. When the State hands over video material, it must be a copy of the original and it must not be edited footage. The RTE footage can be seen to be fastforwarded at one point, when it’s played. There’s plenty of other material on it that shows that it was most certainly edited before it was given to gardaí. Also, there’s no statement from the RTE employee who allegedly copied the footage and gave it to the gardaí. In other words, this alleged evidence would have been disallowed. And Steven’s case wasn’t the only case it was allegedly relevant to.

Here’s the report that Raymond compiled regarding the faults with regard to the DVDs handed over to Steven:

Discs Info


Drive used = Pioneer DVR-116D

Disc – Maxell DVD-R

Menu – NTSC, Video content – PAL

Structure of disc implies DVD VR Format (a DVD recording format that allows for the recording of ongoing video footage on a singe disc). This can be seen by the inclusion of the VIDEO_RM folder in the root directory (I don’t think that is part of the standard but a common feature none-the-less).

This format also allows you to edit the video directly from the disc, so you can delete certain parts, rewind, fast forward and other editing options. DVD VR formats allow you to add new video, change menus, add chapters, split clip, remove video segments and more.

It’s normally used with DVD-RW, DVD-RAM or DVD+RW discs (i.e. re-writeable).

It’s a format that is meant to be read on the same player that created the disc, it’s difficult to confirm if it will work on other drives. The resulting media are not DVD-Video compliant, and will not play back in some DVD-Video players.

DVD-VR is non-DVD-Video, special use for editing, and can only be played back on similar recorders, and sometimes players that also support VCD/SVCD formats. The video can use bitrates and resolutions not supported on DVD-Video. The use of DVD-VR and DVD-RAM for video, in my opinion, should have never been implemented due to the confusion it causes and lack of playability in DVD-Video players. It is not something that should be adopted for evidence in court.

DVD+VR is a subset of DVD-Video. The creation of DVD+VR was to bridge a gap between “Video Mode” (DVD-Video) and “VR Mode” (DVD-VR) found on DVD recorders (DVD-R and DVD-RW media). However, this has largely failed because DVD+VR made discs have a tendency to corrupt themselves during the editing process (IFO damage). It appears that the RTE disc has errors in the IFO files but I have not ascertained if this is the cause yet.

This disc also appears to be of edited footage rather than the expected original. e.g. between 5.00 and 6.00 minutes in the same person is carried out by his limbs from the crowd by the gardai 3 times. The video also slows down, it appears to rewind. At 39.45 minutes the video changes to footage shoot earlier in the day at a different location – The spire at O’Connell Street, after starting off on Dorset street later in the afternoon. At around 1 hr and 6 minutes into the footage the video goes into fast forward, showing different locations until the end of the footage.

Disc labelled RC (2) –

Unreadable on two optical drives. Cannot even confirm format (standard) used.

Discs labelled KK2; KK1; McMillan;PH6 – Discs with problematic physical stickered labels –

Notified the defendant by phone of concerns regarding these discs – I have very serious concerns that the labels on these discs may cause defects to the discs and the optical drive they are in if someone attempts to use them.

Feeling under pressure due to time constraints from the handoff at the latest mention date in December, and not wanting anyone else to risk using them, I decided to try one of them, after making the phone call to the defendant, warning him that it is likely to irretrievably impair the optical drive in the computer. Subsequently, on testing it in the drive, there was severe vibration and the label partially broke off at high speed. The optical drive was damaged, destroying it.

All the discs I checked had problems of one type or another but this aspect, the awful quality of the labelling, was the single worst issue, it was likely to cause phyiscal harm to any machine that they were used in. At best it was sheer ignorant stupidity, lacking any basic intelligence or common sense, at worst, it was a deliberate attempt at sabotage or injury.

This type of problem is known as ‘unbalance’ and is a fundamental aspect of disc quality control. Disc unbalance causes the disc and drive to vibrate. This vibration causes the track location to shift at moderate amounts of unbalance, transferring the rotational frequency into the radial servo channel. Severe vibration at high speed can permanently damage the spindle motor bearings.

Unbalance is caused by an uneven distribution of mass around the disc, e.g. Offset of the centre hole can cause unbalance as can an outer rim that is not perfectly centered or not circular in shape. Slight variations in thickness of a disc or an asymmetric label also results in unbalance. Dynamic unbalance of less than 0.04N (Newtons) [or around 0.009 pounds of force] is required by the Red Book for 120mm diameter audio discs rotating at 600rpm for instance. Since radial force increases as the square of the speed, 0.04N at 600rpm translates to 21.6N or 4.86 pounds at 24x. A 24x CD drive is spinning at 14,000 rpm, this results in high radial forces on the bearings of the optical drive.

IW – Similar problems to RTE disc. Appears to be DVD-VR and has the problems associated with that format. IW and RTE also have multiple recordings of the same footage.

Finally, before I get to the matter of the hearing, I want to talk about the slimy thug who arrested Steven and Elaine. Yup, they were both arrested by the same pig. This particular piece of filth also arrested a third gentleman, Donal Dunne. Garda Alan Carroll of Santry Garda station prepared three sworn statements for the three prosecutions. Each of the three statements are identical, excepting where Carroll copied and pasted in the names and identifying details of each of the three defendants. Hence the reason we wanted Steven’s case to be tried at the same time as Elaine’s, so that we could confront him with his manufactured evidence. Each defendant was arrested at 16.40pm. Each defendant allegedly “… also resisted arrest punched and kicked out on a number of occasions and was shouting verbal abuse…” The circumstances leading to each arrest are identical in all three statements, despite the actual circumstances being vastly different, not to mention that the times of the arrests were obviously different too.

If even one of the statements was telling the truth, one would have to guess at which defendant Carroll was referring to. This would be a guess based on the balance of probabilities and it is a standard far lower than the standard that requires that the case be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This act of manufacturing evidence was a wilful and deliberate act. Carroll even went to the trouble of ensuring that Elaine was referred to as “she” to distinguish from where he referred to Steven and the other defendant as “he.”



Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want –
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Quick, send in the clowns.

[From “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim]

On April 12th I arrived at the Bridewell court a little after 10.00am. Steven and Raymond were already there. We rapidly ascertained that Judge Clyne would be present. The barristers for the other defendants were happy to allow Steven make his applications first. We were all set and chomping at the bit to hit these cases with a shovel over the back of the head.

The alleged offences had been committed on the 17th of May 2011. We were now nearly into the third year of prosecuting them.

Clyne was in fine form. His jokes were funny, apt and not calculated to cause offence or humiliation. He dealt with the cases in front of him efficiently and fairly. I found him to be very agile mentally and very quick on the uptake. If he is consistent in this approach and I’ve no reason thus far to think otherwise, I’d consider him to be one of less than a handful of judges in the District Court who understands the job and is competent at doing it.

The cases before the court continued up until shortly after 12.30pm. Then we were called.

One of the barristers immediately asked the Judge to hear Steven’s applications first. He also reminded him that Steven was a lay litigant and that he was being helped by myself, his McKenzie Friend. The judge was having none of it. He wanted to hear professional arguments first and Steven could add anything that he thought had been missed afterwards. Dashed was our hope of the shovel blow. But we need not have worried. Steven threw the last punch anyway!

The judge also pointed out to Steven that I was there to whisper advice to him, that I had no standing in the court and that I wouldn’t address the Court. It was refreshing to find that the judge completely understood my function.

It was now approximately 12.40pm. It was suggested to the judge that we break for lunch at this point and return at 1.40pm, rather than having the flow of arguments interrupted by the lunch break. The judge declined this approach and instead declared that the case would proceed through the lunch hour as he wanted to be out of the courtroom by 3.00pm (as I said earlier, Judge Clyne is a moveable judge and he travels all over the country, his desire to be finished by 3.00pm was to be expected). At that particular moment my purpose was amended. As well as being Steven’s McKenzie, I was now his official clock watcher too.

The barrister who’d requested that Steven go first, kicked off the debate. He was also the barrister who’d initially made the application to strike out the case because of delay when Judge Clyne had first appeared in January.

The barrister’s first argument was a complex one. He referred to the Heaney case to give his argument substance. This was the same case law that had been given to me by my friend. The thrust of the barrister’s argument was that the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act should have been the vehicle that facilitated the issuing of summonses for the present cases, rather than the modern legislation. This meant that the judge who initially binned the cases should have been approached to issue the summonses rather than having them processed in the fashion that they were.

The DPP argued that the Heaney case clearly showed via the “vice versa” bit in it that the gardaí could use either method when applying for a summons. In fairness to her the barrister wasn’t arguing that there weren’t two methods. He was arguing that one of them was not available. The State Solicitor ate up valuable time arguing the same point over and over and over. The barrister, for the most part, was content to allow Judge Clyne pick apart her argument.

We had taken a similar line in our argument with regard to the Heaney case. But it was radically different too. I’m sure that I heard Sergeant Waters state on an earlier date, that there had been a problem with the summonses applied for on the day before the six month limit expired and that those summonses had not been served. This facilitated us in taking a different route through the Heaney case. In order to reissue a summons, it must both have lapsed and not have been served. Our reasoning was that if the first summons was invalid, it cannot have ever been a valid summons and thus was never in a position to lapse. If I’d misheard the sergeant, we risked little in our differing approach as the barristers had the other side of the argument well in hand.

Next up was my second favourite part of the hearing. The barrister told judge Clyne that he wished to call his client as a witness, to demonstrate a general bias that prejudiced each of the defendants. A gentleman took the stand and was sworn in.

He told the Court that when he’d been arrested that there had been three specific individuals who’d witnessed the arrest and what had happened prior to it. He also said that they’d witnessed lots of other arrests. His first witness, after the cases had been struck out had joined the Foreign Legion, his second witness had emigrated to Australia and his third, a lady, had died.

The DPP opened her cross examination by asking the gentleman if he was a member of any organisation. I smiled inwardly at her stupidity. The gentleman replied that he was indeed a member of an organisation, he was a member of Republican Sinn Féin. He added that his three witnesses had not been members. The DPP thought she was on a roll – she was, but it wasn’t the type of roll she thought it was – she next asked him if any of his associates had been present and had witnessed his arrest. He replied that about 40 of them had witnessed his arrest. She asked him if he’d be able to get any of them into the courtroom to give testimony on his behalf. He replied that he could make a phone call there and then and have the 40 of them in the courtroom within the hour. It was all I could do, to not burst out laughing.

The witness was excused and his barrister pointed out to the Court that the first thing the DPP would do if the gentleman’s 40 witnesses turned up to testify for him would be to establish their obvious loyalty towards their comrade. The DPP spent a lot of time acting like something out of a Punch and Judy show with the “Oh no it isn’t” approach. She spent an incredible amount of time bickering with both the barrister and Judge Clyne.

There were some short arguments made after that that didn’t really get anywhere. Nonetheless the DPP fought them tooth and claw, as if her life depended on it. At 3.05pm I whispered the time into Steven’s ear. Steven answered me with a smile. The next time the DPP shut up long enough to take a breath, Steven approached the bench and made his move.

At this point the DPP glared at me. If looks could kill, they’d still be searching for my body.

Steven told the judge that the State had failed to comply with the Gary Doyle order and that it was provable that the State was at fault with regard to the video evidence we were unable to view. He told the judge that he’d brought an expert witness who could guide the court through the intricacies of the matter. At this particular point I was caught between feeling elation and feeling sorry for Judge Clyne as I watched the light go out of his eyes upon the realisation that Steven was bringing the Court right back to the moment that the cases had been initially thrown out.

The DPP went ballistic. She told the Court in tones close to hysteria that there had been nothing wrong with the DVDs and that she’d brought along the garda who’d put the material on the DVDs to give evidence. I was thinking to myself that if she was going to give evidence, that she should be fuckin’ sworn in first. The judge was kinder in his outlook. He pointed out to her that just because one DVD player played a DVD it didn’t mean that another player would do so and he reminded her of an earlier case in the day where there’d been a massive wait whilst a garda had tried to get video evidence to display via the court’s video system. He waved off further dispute from her and asked if anyone else had had a problem with matters arising from the Gary Doyle order. One barrister had. He said that the DPP had given him a look at two pepper spray reports earlier in the morning but that she hadn’t furnished him with copies. The DPP said that the reports were for internal garda use and didn’t advance the barrister’s case, where he was alleging that multiple people had been sprayed. The judge demanded to see the reports. He declared them irrelevant and they were handed back to the DPP.

The Judge returned his gaze to Steven who immediately started where he’d finished, only to be stopped again. The Judge shook his head and addressed the courtroom. He gave a reasoned judgement as to why he was dismissing each and every case because of the delay and the prejudice that accompanied it.

The republicans and the others at the back of the court gave the judge a quick round of applause.

The DPP lost her mind completely and began to gush that none of the arguments had been completed and that she’d not been allowed to make all of hers. The judge pointed out that they’d moved from one argument to another and that they had indeed been completed. The DPP continued to screech at the judge saying that not every defendant had given evidence to establish bias despite the fact that the evidence of the Republican Sinn Féin member had been used to establish a general bias. And on and on she went…

The judge slammed his fists, hammer style, onto the bench and glared at the DPP who was immediately struck dumb in terror. “Why am I still listening to this!?” he roared. “You are subverting what I stand for!”

There was a loud round of applause from the back of the courtroom, some cheering too.

Madam K and myself witness garda criminal behaviour and interview Willy, a homeless gentleman evicted from the camp

There’s been a lot written about the Occupy movement. Both from an international perspective and from a localised view. One thing stands out. There are very few who have not heard of it.

It’s not my intention to critique the movement. It will suffice to say that I see it as a symptom of where we are, rather than the solution. The kettle has started to boil!

This piece will focus on Dublin’s “Occupy Dame Street.” If folks are looking for an article that explores the mistakes and triumphs of the group I fear they will leave disappointed. I don’t particularly care whether trade unions, political parties and other groups were told to sling their hooks or not. I don’t particularly care to add to the various personality clashes that erupted, and were bound to do so, by smashing my own personality into the fray. Instead, I want to explore the tactics and the lawlessness used by the State to try to bring the die-hards to their knees. There is unity to be had in this. For it is the same with all. If you have a problem, you’d better shut your mouth, or else you’ll have the crap kicked out of you and you’ll get to play Dungeons and Dragons in the State’s medieval court system.

At a little after 3.00am on Thursday the 8th of March around a hundred gardaí, many of them in armour, invaded the camp on Dame Street. There were 15 inhabitants. People were ripped out of tents and told in no uncertain terms, to leave the area. Others were terrorised and assaulted in the camp’s kitchen and then told to leave the area. Some of the structures, including the kitchen were ripped to shreds by heavy machinery and trucked away as rubbish. The personal belongings of the campers and of many others were carted off by the interlopers and taken to Pearse Street Garda Station. Everything from laptops, the minutes of general assemblies, video cameras, to the very personal possessions of the movement, gone…

That evening a surprise protest, organised in a matter of moments at the general assembly, took the gardaí completely by surprise. It was called and it was on the road, on both lanes, as gardaí started to run towards their cars and vans. It was gratifying to see their flashing blue lights in the distance as the first of the sit-downs blocked all traffic. The one garda van that had managed to keep up with the march, didn’t puke out any little blue fascists with the balls to make any demands on the sitters.

When the march got to Pearse Street all hell broke loose as gardaí frantically called in support. They really needn’t have worried. It was a peaceful group, despite their righteous anger. The proof of that is that no gardaí were injured, despite their thuggish behaviour, which included a cowardly assault on a 15 year old girl. There were plenty of injuries handed out to the marchers however. Despite asking lots of gardaí present, what legislation facilitated them randomly grabbing folks and preventing them from going where they wished to lawfully go, I got no answer. It’s my view that the gardaí were extremely lucky that the intentions of the marchers were peaceful, to the extreme. This is not to say that folks didn’t get vocal or were afraid to assert themselves. There were lots of vocalisations and assertions.

Eventually a few were allowed inside the garda station to begin the process of reclaiming their property. They were told that each individual would have make a list describing their property, sign and date it and that the property would be handed back at some later date. Any property remaining after this would be handed back to the camp generally. Not a single item of property has been returned yet. Including heart medication and other essential materials.

Occupy Dame Street Occupies the Gardaí

So where’s the unlawfulness? It all seems proper, if a bit unfair. That’s surfaces for you. Just scratch and you’ll find something different.

On the 28th of February, a letter was delivered to the campers. It was from Superintendent Joe Gannon. Folks familiar with what’s written here will be familiar with the adventures of Joe. Basically if you need some muscle to beat the shit out of someone, you get Joe, that’s if “you” is the State. Not that Joe would be up to the job personally. No, not at all. Joe knows people.

Anyhow, Joe writes this letter, and comes across as all health and safety conscious. Of course to folks who are accustomed to Joe’s methodologies, like my good self, reading between the lines, it’s not really concern that one reads, it’s a threat. Here’s the letter in full:

To whom it may concern,

I write in the context of the ad hoc conversations and consultations we have had with participants in the occupy dame street camp over the last number of months

I also write in the context of the upcoming St. Patrick’s day celebrations, due to be held in Dublin City centre over the weekend of the 16th to the 19th of March, next st. Patrick’s Day, as you will be aware, and in particular the parade through Dublin city, is an event that attracts huge numbers of tourists and visitors from abroad and elsewhere in the country.

An Garda Síochána is charged with policing the festival and our objective is always to ensure that all of the st. Patrick’s Day events and celebrations pass off smoothly and that all participants and the large crowds of spectators at the parade can access and egress the parade route without any risk or threat to their health and safety.

An Garda Síochána’s policing of major events is very much predicated on adherence to codes of practice governing major outdoor events and health and safety stipulations under health and safety legislation. In that context, we are concerned about the presence of significant amounts of wooden pallets and other hardware in and around your “camp”. at the central bank plaza.

To that end I am therefore asking you for your assistance and cooperation IN REMOVING THE OCCUPY DAME STREET CAMP in order to facilitate the holding of the St Patrick’s day parade and to ensure that it passes off without risk of injury or harm to members of the community and visitors and to the satisfaction of all concerned.I would be grateful to receive your response to this letter by telephone, e-mail or post at the above contact points by the 3rd of March 2012.

Your cooperation in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Yours Sincerely,
Superintendent, Joseph Gannon

Please note that Joe has asked for a reply by the 3rd of March. It’s important for the contextualisation of what followed.

On the morning of the 8th of March, when the gardaí busted up the camp some printed sheets of paper were handed to the traumatised campers as an explanation as to what was happening. Section 24 of the Housing (Miscelaneous Provisions) Act, 2002, facilitated the thieves in the night. The date of printing was the 2nd of March, the day before the deadline for the camp’s answer to Joe’s letter.

I’ll print the important piece of the legislation:

Entry on and occupation of land or bringing onto or placing an object on land without consent.

19C.—(1) A person, without the duly given consent of the owner, shall not—

(a) enter and occupy any land, or

(b) bring onto or place on any land any object,

where such entry or occupation or the bringing onto or placing on the land of such object is likely to—

(i) substantially damage the land,

(ii) substantially and prejudicially affect any amenity in respect of the land,

(iii) prevent persons entitled to use the land or any amenity in respect of the land from making reasonable use of the land or amenity,

(iv) otherwise render the land or any amenity in respect of the land, or the lawful use of the land or any amenity in respect of the land, unsanitary or unsafe,

(v) substantially interfere with the land, any amenity in respect of the land, the lawful use of the land or any amenity in respect of the land.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Where a member of the Garda Síochána has reason to believe that a person is committing or has committed an offence under subsection (1) the member—

(a) may demand of the person his or her name and address,

(b) may direct the person to leave the land concerned and to remove from the land any object that belongs to the person or that is under his or her control, and

(c) shall inform the person of the nature of the offence in respect of which it is suspected that person has been involved and the statutory consequences of failing to comply with a demand or direction under this subsection.

Refusing or failing to give name or address or failure to comply with direction.

19D.—Where a person—

(a) refuses or fails to give his or her name and address to a member of the Garda Síochána when demanded under section 19C, or gives to the member a name or address that is false or misleading, or

(b) fails to comply with a direction under that section,

he or she shall be guilty of an offence.

Arrest without warrant.

19E.—A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant a person—

(a) who fails or refuses to give his or her name and address when demanded under section 19C(3)(a) or gives a name or address which the member has reasonable grounds for believing is false or misleading,

(b) who fails to comply with a direction given under section 19C(3)(b), or

(c) whom the member finds committing an offence under section 19C(1).

Removal, storage and disposal of object.

19F.—(1) Where a person fails to comply with a direction under section 19C(3)(b), a member of the Garda Síochána may remove or cause to be removed any object which the member has reason to believe was brought onto or placed on the land in contravention of section 19C(1) and may store or cause to be stored such object so removed.

(2) Any person who obstructs or impedes or assists a person to obstruct or impede a member of the Garda Síochana in the execution of his or her duty under this section shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Where an object has been removed under this section without the presence or knowledge of any person claiming to own, occupy, control or otherwise retain it, the Commissioner shall serve or cause to be served upon each such person whose name and address can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry, a notice informing the person where the object may be claimed and recovered, requiring the person to claim and recover it within one month of the date of service of the notice and informing him or her of the statutory consequences of his or her failure to do so.

(4) An object removed and stored under this section shall be given to a person claiming possession of the object if, but only if, he or she makes a declaration in writing that he or she is the owner of the object or is authorised by its owner to claim it or is, for a specified reason, otherwise entitled to possession of it and, at the discretion of the Commissioner, the person pays the amount of any expenditure reasonably incurred in removing and storing the object.

(5) The Commissioner may dispose of, or cause to be disposed of, an object removed and stored under this section if—

(a) the owner of the object fails to claim it and remove it from the place where it is stored within one month of the date on which a notice under subsection (3) was served on him or her, or

(b) the name and address of the owner of the object cannot be ascertained by reasonable enquiry.

(6) Where the Commissioner becomes entitled to dispose of or cause to be disposed of an object under subsection (5) and the object is, in his or her opinion, capable of being sold, the Commissioner shall be entitled to sell or cause to be sold the object for the best price reasonably obtainable and upon doing so shall pay or cause to be paid to the person who was the owner of the object at the time of its removal, where the name and address of the owner can be ascertained by reasonable enquiry, a sum equal to the proceeds of such sale after deducting therefrom any expenditure reasonably incurred in its removal, storage and sale.

Penalties and proceedings.

19G.—(1) A person guilty of an offence under this Part shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one month or to both.

(2) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part it shall be presumed until the contrary is shown that consent under this Part was not given.

Now, as can be seen, the proper procedure when using this legislation, is to inform any and all suspects, of the nature of the offence suspected and the penalties associated with a conviction under the offence. Folks being ripped from their sleeping bags and told to leave, without having this explained to them, have had their rights violated. Folks who have had their property taken without having this explained and an opportunity to remove their property, have had their rights violated. The good folks at Occupy Dame Street have been royally violated and not a single voice from the mainstream media or political world has so much as batted an eyelid.

Fair enough, I wasn’t present for the raid. But I was present later on, when John Rogers’ flag was stolen by a member of the gardaí. It was ripped right out of his hands and no warning or explanation was given. Cardboard, obviously capable of substantially damaging Dame Street Plaza, was expertly grabbed and destroyed by the State’s fascists in blue, before it could go off. Again without warning or explanation. In other words, the gardaí mugged people and stole their property.

John Rogers deals with the garda who stole his flag 🙂

I’ve used the word “entrapment” in the title of this piece, where did that come from? That’s quite easy. Basically speaking, entrapment is when a person who wouldn’t have broken the law, does so, due to some trickery perpetrated by the gardaí. The occupy movement had a good relationship with the owners of Dame Street Plaza. Indeed they even offered to replace the wooden fencing the campers used with metal fencing. They never once asked the camp to leave. Indeed, at one point, due to a rumour from a garda, when we manned the Courts to fight a possible eviction, the owners of Dame Street Plaza, went to great pains to explain to the campers that they had not set anything in motion with regard to an eviction. However, due to pressure (or whatever) from the gardaí, who had secret talks with the owners, it was agreed to evict the camp. The problem was that nobody bothered to tell the campers this. The first they heard of it was when a hundred thugs smashed the camp to pieces, stole private property and sent their victims wandering into the night.

As with Rossport, Gannon’s goons largely avoided arresting people. Why go there when jackboots are so much quicker and cheaper than prosecutions…

There were about three arrests in all, to date. In one of those arrests, an activist who was on the ground, arrested and under the control of the gardaí, was pepper sprayed. I’ve a feeling that there’ll be no conviction if it goes to court. I know a complaint has been given to the paintjob Garda Ombudsman, so I’ll not be holding my breath for justice to be dispensed.

On the upside. As I said earlier, the kettle is boiling. I cannot wait to see who gets scalded.

Ombudsman Painter Decorators

For years I have been referring to the Garda Ombudsman as a “paint job.” I have done so out of my extensive experience of them, with regard to the various individuals, activists and organisations I have worked with. I have seen complaints accompanied by incontrovertible evidence of garda criminality result in garda vindication and vilification for those who dared to complain.

The Garda Ombudsman was set up to allegedly replace the Garda Complaints Board. The gardaí investigating the gardaí was seen to be a process that facilitated the widespread abuse of power and criminality by members of An Garda Síochána. The new body was spun in the media as being an organisation that would employ the best of experts from all over the planet to rein in the endemic corruption of the gardaí. And spin is all that it was. It has been my experience that the Ombudsman only examines the admissibility of complaints. The actual investigative work is handed back to the Garda Síochána as is facilitated by the Garda Síochána Act. In other words, the gardaí are still investigated by the gardaí. The only real difference is the addition of a massively expensive buffer between complaints and alleged investigations. I won’t be going into the function of the DPP in all of this. But I must say that I’m tempted to!

On June 9th of this year the Irish Times published a piece based on the statistics for 2010, concerning the operation of the Garda Ombudsman.

I’m not too concerned with most of the figures produced as they give no inclination whatsoever as to whether the Garda Ombudsman is functional.

I’m interested in two things from this report. The first being that in 2010 there were some 2,258 complaints – containing 4,031 specific allegations. The second being that “The commission said that after operating for almost four years, it had not detected any trends indicating racism in the Garda. Last year 85 per cent of all complaints received were from Irish people.

I’ll deal with the second point first as the other point will form part of the backdrop of this whole piece.

According to the Irish Examiner on January the 11th 2010, the EU in a report had said that “Sub-Saharan Africans are twice as likely to be subjected to police stops than other members of the public.” In fact the stop rate for these minorities was the highest in the EU, with Greek police stopping members of the Roma coming second.

In March of this year the High Court removed Section 12 of the Immigration Act. This allowed the gardaí to stop non-nationals and demand that they produce their passports or similar documentation, without any reasonable suspicion that the person concerned had committed an offence. The gardaí were using and abusing this power. I’m personally aware of lots of instances of this and have been involved in a number of cases where the gardaí failed to secure a single conviction.

To suggest that the Ombudsman had not detected a trend indicating racism shows a lack of investigative ability and literacy rather than showing a lack of racism.

Now back to those figures. 2,258 complaints for 2010. Those figures, we’re told, are broadly in line with the figures of 2009. The Ombudsman has been open for business a little over four years. Let’s say the Ombudsman receives 2,200 complaints per year. Over four years this is 8,800.

In November of 2009 our glorious leader, Enda Kenny, asked a parliamentary question about the budget for the Garda Ombudsman. He was told that the budget for 2008 had been €9.845 million. He was told that the budget for 2009 would be €11.058 million.

I’m going to take the average budget to be approximately €10 million per year. In other words, the Garda Ombudsman has spent €40 million to remove the scum from An Garda Síochána.

In May of this year I had a parliamentary question asked by Joan Collins (Many thanks Joan). I wasn’t interested in how the Ombudsman “disposed” of complaints. I reckoned they used a bin. I wanted to know how many convictions had been secured, due to their efforts, that hadn’t been overturned by appeal. And I wanted to know the rank of the most senior garda convicted. Getting my answer took a bit longer than the three days it’s supposed to take. The reply came on the 30th of August.

Here’s the answer:

Since commencement of its operations in May 2007, seven members of An Garda Síochána have been found guilty of offences by the Courts arising from investigations by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Of these, two members had their verdicts reduced to a sanction under the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 (as amended).

In a further case, in the District Court, the judge found that while the Garda in question had assaulted a complainant it was a minor assault at the lower end of the scale and he decided that he would deal with it other than by imposing a conviction and so struck out the summons.

All of these eight members were of Garda rank.

So there you have it. There have been 5 convictions since the Garda Ombudsman opened for business. The two that were given the Probation Act were not convicted, that is the point of the Act.

8,800 complaints and 5 convictions. 1 conviction per 1,760 complaints. €40,000,000 for 5 convictions. €8,000,000 per conviction.

The Garda Ombudsman is the most expensive paint job in Irish history. With the possibility of securing a conviction based on any single complaint being less than 0.057% it is quite obvious that one is better off not making the complaint in the first instance.

For ordinary citizens the message is quite clear. Avoid the Ombudsman. I could suggest that the Ombudsman exists specifically to ensure that the gardaí do not suffer for their widespread criminality. But that’s irrelevant, the intent that is. The fact is that they do not suffer for their widespread criminality.

For activists, the picture is even bleaker. The fact that the ombudsman does not function is used to tarnish the names and credibility of activists. And it would be my advice that activists and groups initiate a policy of not utilising the Ombudsman to begin with. It’s a waste of time and we can do without the State and other cancerous groups and individuals using this paint job to marginalise and disenfranchise us.

Let me say at the outset of this article that I am neither a legal expert nor a practitioner. I do not give “legal advice” contrary to the law and contrary to the paranoid delusions of many members of the judiciary, the latest being Reilly J. of the District Court.

The law's an ass

The gardaí do not exist to protect individuals. For many of my readers this idea will seem counter-intuitive. All the same, the gardaí do not have to protect you. They owe you no duty of care.

On the 20th of January last, Mr Hedigan J finally delivered a judgement in the case titled: M. -v- Commissioner of an Garda Siochana & Ors. This Judgement was made part of the public record on the 18th of February.

M was a young girl who was raped by a family member. The case was messed up by the gardaí and the DPP. The young lady, having failed to have justice done, brought a case to the High Court, alleging that various parties had failed in their duty of care. Hedigan J. disagreed, he eventually said:

The starting point in relation to a claim of negligence is to examine whether each element that is required to establish a duty of care is present. The necessary elements are proximity, foreseeability, considerations of public policy and also the test of whether it is just and reasonable to impose a duty of care. The key issue in this case is whether it would be contrary to public policy to impose a duty of care on the Gardaí. It seems to me that the cases cited above establish that no duty of care exists in Irish law upon the defendants in respect of their investigatory or prosecutorial functions. This is because it would be contrary to the public interest that such a duty be imposed by reason of the inhibiting effect this would have on the proper exercise of those investigatory and prosecutorial functions. It is in the public interest that those bodies should perform their functions without the fear or threat of action against them by individuals. The imposition of liability might lead to the investigative operations of the police being exercised in a defensive frame of mind. A great deal of police time, trouble and expense might have to be put into the preparation of the defence to the action and the attendance of witnesses at the trial. The result would be a significant diversion of police manpower and attention from their most important function, that of the suppression of crime. While the recognition of individualized justice may militate in favour of the recognition of a duty of care, there are compelling considerations rooted in the welfare of the whole community, which outweigh the dictates of individualized justice. This view of the law is entirely consistent with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights as set out in (2002) 34 E.H.R.R. 3.

The fact that the defendants are carrying out functions which are in the public interest outweighs any duty of care to private individuals. This is not to say that such bodies are immune from actions for damages arising from ordinary principles of negligence. The absence of duty relates only to their actions arising from their prosecutorial or investigatory functions. For all the above mentioned reasons the Court finds that the defendants did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff. That being so the question of whether the case is statute barred is moot.

The fact that Hedigan J’s ruling is full of shit does not seem to have caused any concerns. In my non legal expert opinion, it seems that Hedigan J has failed to grasp the very definition of the “common good.” Instead, he has lumped the rights of the individual as a separate entity to the rights of society itself. According to the Irish Constitution, the rights of society, or the common good, cannot exist in the absence of the rights of the individual being catered to. In other words, if one owes a duty of care to society, one necessarily owes a duty of care to the individual.

Let me quote a brief section from the preamble of the Irish Constitution:

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations…

Whilst it is very true that the preamble is aspirational in nature one cannot avoid concluding that something cannot be aspirational in nature or practice if its founding definitions are false. For example, I cannot aspire to have a long and pain free life if I shoot myself in the head. According to the preamble, the common good is promoted by assuring the dignity and the freedom of the individual. So, achieving the common good is aspirational (as simple logic dictates) but the roadmap to achieving it is not!

As an anarchist I really don’t give a toss for the Constitution. But I have always been moved by its definition of the common good. I have always been disgusted by the State and how it relegates the individual to the rubbish tip. This latest ruling has once again enshrined in law that the individual is unimportant.

Like I said at the start, I’m no legal expert. If I was, I’d have tried to paint Hedigan J’s ruling as moral, just and lawful. But I haven’t. I see it for what it is. It’s horseshit.

The two intrepid reporters approached the Dáil, hoping to have some serious questions answered, armed with a camera and a butt plug, just in case.

A big lorry came and parked outside the Dáil in an act of protest about toxic banks. Reporters were later to be seen spinning the story that it had tried to crash through the gates. Later still, politicians were defecating the same thing. We had enough. We produced the butt plug. The politicians seemed to like it.

Not all of us are willing to take it in the arse for the banks.


Madam K


The lorry didn’t try to ram through the gates. If it had, it would have succeeded. The gardaí sprang into action by breaking the back and side windows. The gentleman, who’d immobilised the vehicle, was arrested and taken away. We hope he’s safe and sound and we wish to extend our congratulations to him. The gardaí stood around scratching their heads through their hats. Nobody it seems, considered the possibility that the truck might explode at any second. A very good thing it didn’t, as the bodycount would have been high, due to lots of good folks travelling to work and others stopping up to see what was going on.

A tow truck eventually arrived. There have been many things said about the lorry having slowed or stopped traffic, this was far from the truth, it was the tow truck that hindered traffic. The lorry was winched up and dragged away nearly two hours later.

The politicians started to arrive. We really wanted to question them about their ideas on our debt crisis, NAMA and other things. We’d discussed our approach a number of times and had decided to bring along a butt plug in the event that the politicians decided to be anal. They decided to be anal, just like we really knew they would. They didn’t disappoint us.

When asked questions about how the deficit was going to be plugged or if the people of Ireland felt that they were taking it up the arse for the banks, the politicians almost eat the butt plug, in their hurry to promote themselves and the shite they were expelling. Most of the reporters around spotted the butt plug and were caking themselves laughing. Except one RTE reporter who exclaimed loudly about the “dildo.” You’d think if anyone could tell the difference between a dildo and a butt plug, it’d be RTE!

The Dáil was a hive of activity. Lots of old friends about and some new. I spotted the patient Peter Preston beside the gates. As ever he was sticking it to the politicians and they had nothing to say about it, as usual. Some of the more media desperate TDs elbowed their way into posing for the cameras with some schoolkids who’d come to deliver material on behalf of Amnesty International, to Mary Harney, who was nowhere to be seen. The unemployed, the employed, victims of the HSE, anti-fox hunting representatives and many anti-NAMA folks all turned up.

Despite everything, the crisis that is the government continues. The banks will be taken care of. The sick and the dying can wait for nothing. We can all like it or shut up. And all the saps at the Dáil have to show for themselves is their willingness to talk shite into a butt plug.


The Toxic Bank Lorry



Busted Windows



Cleaning up the broken glass



Spout shit in the presence of Madam K at your peril



Okay lads, remember, don't talk shite



Warned ye!



You know you want it!



The Wand of Truth



This is what all the bullshit's about

In the next installment we think bigger!


Madam K’s Youtube Channel:

4th September 2010, Dublin.

I arrived outside Easons a little before 9.00am. There was a line of Blair worshippers, about 200 – 300 of them, lined up outside the side entrance. I ignored them, life’s too short…

The gardaí were setting up barriers as I arrived, fencing off all entry into Easons. I recognised many of them. I exchanged pleasantries with the pleasant ones and glared back at the glaring ones. Folks who were not happy that a war criminal scumbag was in the country began to arrive. I chatted with many old friends as we waited.

When the criminal eventually arrived, in a D reg grey BMW, the festivities really kicked off. Eggs, plastic bottles, placards, shoes and boots were launched as the greying criminal walked into the shop. The spin merchants have been at it already. They’ve condemned the missile launchers for endangering the innocents who went to buy books and have them signed by Blair. This is a fabrication of course, Blair went in the front door and the autograph hunters went in the side entrance.

Some scuffles, small at first, broke out between us and the gardaí, once Blair was safely inside. The first arrest occurred at this time. These small scuffles were to mark the way things were to go for about the first hour or so. The gardaí, in fairness to the most of them, used their retractable batons sparingly, even though most were displaying them, flicking them into the extended weapon to give warning or challenge. An hour or so after Blair arrived, things got more serious, after another arrest. The Public Order Unit, a bunch of armoured gimps, wearing no identification, had put prisoners into a paddy wagon. As they attempted to move it, folks began to sit on the road, blocking it, including a wheelchair user. These folks, including the gentleman in the wheelchair, were dragged aside without any consideration as to their health, safety or rights. Things got ugly then. Getting the prisoners away in this particular vehicle had to be abandoned. The Public Order Unit transferred their captives from the back of the vehicle and into another, which was then driven away, being kicked and battered by activists.

After this, things mostly quieted down, and we waited for the criminal to leave his third floor sanctuary in Easons. He was eventually whisked back into his waiting beamer by his personal security and members of the Special Branch, to cries of “scumbag,” “war criminal,” “dirty bastard,” and other appropriate epitaphs.

It was most likely figured that Ireland would be the best place to start launching Blair’s work of egregious fiction, due to his alleged work in the peace process in Northern Ireland. That was a mistake. Blair has started his project with an international incident, that spells out in no uncertain terms that his presence only warrants an arrest. He will not and he should no be tolerated anywhere he goes.

Activist and member of IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign), Kate O’Sullivan, infiltrated the literal ring of steel surrounding Easons, to place the war criminal under arrest. The intrepid activist got to look Blair in the eyes and tell him that he was under arrest, before being grabbed and detained by the minions of Blair and the State. Way to go Kate!

Another Activist, this time from the GAAW (Galway Alliance Against  War), I think it was Niall Farrell, also made it into Easons, but was detected and turfed out as a “security risk.” Unlucky Niall. Excellent attempt nonetheless.

There was rather a poor turnout, only around 200 or so. The rain didn’t help. But numbers aren’t everything. Blair’s just discovered another place that won’t tolerate him!

Autograph hunters await the war criminal

Gardaí investigate a potential sniper platform

Elaine shoots Blair between two poles - with a camera 😦

Many thanks to Elaine O’Sullivan for allowing me to use some of her pictures

An SAC is a Special Area of Conservation. On Mon 3rd Sept 2007, Judge Harvey Kenny ordered that the  Rossport Solidarity Camp be removed by the 1st January 2008. Mayo County Council had taken the campers to court and claimed that they were in violation of the Planning and Development Act 2000 – 2006. They also claimed that the camp was damaging the delicate Machair system which formed part of the SAC and that this was the reason they wanted the camp removed. In order to do this the camp had to be declared a “development.” On top of this, the camp was situated on land that was privately owned and had the permission of the owners to be there. In other words the land was not public land and was not owned by Mayo County Council. It was claimed that a marquee, a part of the camp had withered some of the grass and that a year after its removal the area still hadn’t recovered.

Mayo County Council took the campers to court following a complaint from Karen Gaynor, a coastal ecologist for the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Ms Gaynor was not presented in court for cross examination. Ms Gaynor was also part of the team that examined the area with regard to Shell’s coming into the area to construct a pipeline which concluded that the SAC would suffer no long term damage. Ms Gaynor, to my knowledge, has made no objections whatsoever with regard to ongoing and permanent damage being done to the SAC by Shell.

Shortly after the camp was removed Shell moved in nearby and started drilling holes into the SAC. There was no objection to this from Mayo County Council. Neither did the Council object when Shell began to close off the public beach and commenced works there in anticipation of bringing the pipe ashore. There was no planning permission for this and despite spin that claimed otherwise, it was not exempt from the Planning and Development Act. It was not part of the foreshore as had been claimed. Nets were placed over nearby dunes and cliff walls to prevent nesting. There were many arrests as campers and locals removed these illegal nets.

Recently, John Gormley said in relation to quad bikes and other types of machinary being used in SACs “Unrestrained use of these vehicles can cause the destruction of upland vegetation leading to erosion, the disturbance of ground-nesting birds and destruction of their nests, and permanent damage to sand dune systems,” Of course Mr Gormley was not referring to the SAC in Mayo, where he gave Shell permission to sink boreholes into the delicate SAC, where they will later tunnel under to lay their pipe.

Mr Gormley is obviously a hypocrite. And Mr Gormley obviously doesn’t care about the flora and fauna in the SAC in and around Sruwaddacon Estuary.

The 30th August 2010 is the deadline to object to this latest assault on the SAC. The objections should be sent to Shell’s shill, John Gormley: