Irish Political Policing Continues


Recent arrests of protestors, both north and south of the border, has shown that political policing is alive and well within our society. 

Four anti-war protestors were attacked and arrested by the PSNI while protesting warmonger Tony Blair’s visit to Stormont. Three of them now face a series of charges for voicing their opposition to Blair’s visit.

In Rossport the state has been waging a war of attrition against the local community with the gardai acting as hired thugs for Shell. Five protestors who engaged in a peaceful “lock-on” had their medical team attacked and removed from the scene and were then deprived of their water and blankets until the fire brigade arrived. The five were arrested and are due to face trial on July 11th.

Another Rossport resident, John Monaghan, is facing continuing harassment from the Gardai, having been arrested twice in recent months on ridiculously trumped up charges of assaulting gardai. The reality is that the gardai see in John a strong militant voice for the Shell-to-Sea campaign and wish to silence him.

Back up North we have seen the arrest and threatened extradition of Roisin McAliskey, daughter of Free-Derry veteran Bernadette McAliskey,, for her alleged involvement in bombing a British army base in Germany over ten years ago. The arrest, interestingly, came just days after her mother Bernadette spoke at an Eirigi (a left wing breakaway from Sinn Fein) republican commemoration in Dublin.

This is, of course, just standard practice, whenever people organise themselves and begin to demand social justice or to question the way society is run they may be met by the states first line of defence, the police.

We have repeatedly seen in Ireland the role the police and our class-based justice system take in defending the interests of the ruling class, with the the jailing of ‘Coalition of Communities Against Drugs’ activists, anti-bin tax organisers and more recently the harassment of the Wheelock family who are campaigning for an enquiry into an extremely suspicious death in garda custody.

Police harassment, of course, is not just reserved for political activists, many young working class men and women suffer harassment from gardai. But it is when we organise ourselves to improve conditions at work or in our communities that the lines are drawn. If it is felt we are getting too militant the police may be used against us, showing their primary role as defenders of the ruling class.

This article is from Workers Solidarity 98, July/August 2007

PDF file of Workers Solidarity 98