Is it safe to comment on political matters in contemporary Ireland if one lacks the fig-leaf protection that comes with membership of our supine media cartels? If one takes a critical line on the current Fine Oibre administration does that make one a political dissident? Will the “dogs of policing” be dispatched if one crosses an invisible line of permitted public commentary in the eyes of those who serve the Fine Gael – Labour Party coalition government? If democratically elected politicians can be arrested and taken from their homes in dawn raids – including a member Dáil Éireann, the national parliament of this island nation, and a former member of the European Parliament – what safeguards has a lowly online observer of the increasingly authoritarian establishment in this country? Even children are not safe from the long hands of Taoiseach Kenny and Tánaiste Burton. From the Broadsheet.ie:
“On Tuesday morning I was awoken to a loud banging on my mam and dad’s front door. My mam and dad went down to discover ten Gardaí – nine detectives and one uniformed Garda. The next thing I knew they were standing in my bedroom, arresting me under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
It went on very quick from there. I remember being taken out to a detective car and my mam being followed behind in another detective car. It was then, I was then taken to Tallaght Garda Station and put into police custody.
I was made sign various forms and then I was put into a prison cell. That experience alone for me was distressing. I felt sick in the cell. I’d never been through an experience like that in my life before.
While I should have been in school I was sitting in a prison cell down in Tallaght Garda Station and Joan Burton, if you think that’s going to shut me up, it’s not. I’m going to be protesting stronger than ever before now.
The Guards put me through over two hours of questioning from various videos from the day in Jobstown and they said to me, ‘we have to put it to you, Jason Lester, that you were the ringleader or the organiser of that protest’.
My reply was simply, ‘no comment’ to anything they asked.
People keep on asking me, ‘You’re only a lad of 16. Why – sorry now for cursing – why do you give a shit about water charges? Your mam and dad have to pay them.’
Well I’m 16 now and, in two years, I’ll be 18, in college, I’ll be taking on my own life. If a water tax gets introduced I’ll have to pay that, your kids will have to pay that, so I’m the representative for all your kids out on these protests.
Throughout the interview as well, I saw things and I asked the Guards, ‘Where did this footage come from?’ and they told me, CCTV cameras at An Cosán [college] and RTÉ supplied footage as well of some of the protesters.”
So, basically, what I took from this experience is that I felt downgraded in my area – what are my neighbours going to think of me, seeing me being brought out of my house by ten Guards, marched out of my house, what are they going to think of me?
And if they want to do me on the “false arrest” of Joan Burton, well I tell you something. They came and took me, a 16-year-old out of my bed and put me in a prison cell. Who got falsely arrested? You tell me.””
Such is the revenge enacted by the agents of the Daorstát Éireann for those who protest iniquitous government policies that have inflicted enormous hardship and suffering on huge swathes of our population, and at the behest of faceless European bureaucrats and glorified international money-lenders. When the forces of law and order side with those who avoid or pervert the law, when the police and judiciary become the enforcers of extortionists and profiteers, then every citizen has the right to protest. And to do so without fear of vilification by a mendacious press or persecution by a politicised police service.
A rally will be held on Saturday the 21st of February to protest the suppression of political dissent by the Fine Gael and Labour Party coalition in Ireland, starting at 2pm outside the Central bank, Dame Street, Dublin.
As I post this article it is 7 o’clock in the morning here in the Dublin. Should I expect a knock upon my front-door?
In Scandinavia you have a fair chance of meeting a Government minster in your local Starbucks..They are not protected by a bubble.
In this shytehole the TD’s are completely out of touch..and the use of over reaching Garda resources proves this point out nicely.
This is why people say..We are ruled by Elites.
The TD’s and government ministers need to be brought down a peg or two.
There are water charges in Scandinavia.
Sure but you know..there is a whole Grand Canyon between the level of services between IRL and Scandinavia. I would have no objection to paying for things in principle/…Just so long as the competence follows on behind.
But it doesn’t and won’t…Not if People keep voting for the Fine Gael/Labour/ FF gobsheens!!!!!
Yeah – they also have way higher taxes too.
Ireland has a comparatively low level of taxation. My tax rate here is lower than it was in Latvia and way lower than it would be in any Scandinavian country.
And what’s the alternative?
SF and Socialist party?
I agree taxes are higher in those countries and so is equality. and cohesion.
The fact is in Ireland there is a hobson’s choice.
Nobody with any money wants to pay higher taxes..They point to government wastage.
And the people who have no money ..they suffer due to inadequate services.
In Scandinavia, you have a trust circle between,..management..employees and politicians.
i.e People expect each other party to live up to their obligations.
In Ireland is just special interest groups..looking out for themselves.
It’s disgusting and self defeating.
There needs to be change.
Have you actually lived and worked in Scandinavia btw?
No. i have never lived there. But I have been in mainland Europe, including Sweden..And things like transport, and other services seem to work there. Ireland and England are complete kips in comparsion. England because everything is so old and crumbling apart..Ireland because it was poor for so long it never even has stuff to be too old.
It’s about time the Irish pp;e got off their kness and started demanding something better.
Interesting – didn’t expect that you’ll repeat centuries old British propaganda that portrays the Irish as inferior people and says that they’re incapable of running their own country.
I never said that at all. There ARE too many vested interest groups in Ireland..and between the media and politicial dynasties they manage to convince the Irish voters to vote against their own best interests..If there’s a problem in Ireland it is of been too conserative and the gangster politicians make hay over this.
Not just an Irish problem..In the UK of the over 500+ seats up for grabs in May 2015 British General election only about 100 of those seats will be swing seats.The results for about 400 seats can be taken as read.
If democratically elected politicians can be arrested and taken from their homes in dawn raids.
They aren’t above the law..
And water charges aren’t taxes.
They’re payments for utilities, just like electricity or gas.
Other Europeans don’t see your protests as “a struggle against injustice”, because everyone else is paying water charges (and in Latvia you have to pay VAT on water you consume as well).
Also in Latvia there are no allowances or caps and water providers (which aren’t private companies btw) can cut off your water if you don’t pay.
Do all drivers without exemptions in the Republic of Latvia pay a Vehicle Registration Tax annually, Jānis?
What about the Universal Social Charge?
How about a standard rate of 23% VAT?
You can describe domestic water as a ‘charge’ if you like and while your doing that subscribe to the efficiency arguments if you prefer. The truth is that in this state the monumental issues of lead piping and leaks are a direct result of bad management by successive central and local governments over decades.
Needless to say, the introduction of domestic water fees has everything to do with the neo-liberal ideology of the European Union and privatisation is an inevitable priority under the initial guise of EU directives or ‘deregulation’ orders.
Yeah – there is a similar tax to VRT in Latvia as well.
Labour taxes are also higher, because the Latvian tax system is not progressive – there are no tax brackets and everybody is paying the same tax rate.
The standard VAT rate is 21%.
And it applies to water and food as well.
The truth is that in this state the monumental issues of lead piping and leaks are a direct result of bad management by successive central and local governments over decades.
So you’re admitting that the previous system sucked.
It also was unfair because people who had their own wells still had to pay for water that they didn’t even use through taxes.
In Latvia if you’re not connected to the local water provider you pay nothing to it and it’s fair.
Water charges doesn’t mean that the provider will be privatised.
Water providers in Latvia belong to local councils and are NOT private companies and there are NO plans to privatise them.
These aren’t payments for utilities – we pay for them through draconian taxes already. These are ransom payments to parasitic bankers – most of whom have been proven to be heavily involved in every form of criminality imaginable. We owe these folk precisely nada – but the politicians, media and academia are petrified of them – because they ruthlessly target anyone who crosses them – e.g Eliot Spritzer in New York – who found out the hard way that you don’t investigate the crimes of banksters. As for what “other Europeans” think: most western Europeans are mystified by how docile we are in the face of such larceny – and the manner in which we continue to pathetically believe alleged “experts” like the absurd Moore McDowell – a man who has never been known to get an economic prediction right.
Most western Europeans are paying water charges.
Some of them even have to pay private water providers.
And as I said – in Latvia there are no allowances or caps – you have to pay for every single litre you consume.
VAT also applies to every single litre without any allowances.
So yeah – the Irish system is very draconian indeed.
You didn’t respond to my central point – that we don’t owe these utterly corrupt bankers anything. And most European countries have not already undergone swingeing new taxes and cuts imposed by corrupt bankers – so your point about them paying water rates is completely irrelevant. No sane government would impose new charges simply because other countries already have them. That’s really taking a national inferiority complex to absurd levels.
respect is a two way thannnnnngggg
Reblogged this on Machholz's Blog.
First the response of the authorities has clearly been ill-judged to say the very least. However while everyone should be free to make their opinion known, direct action such as obstructing workers can be expected to lead to arrest and prosecution. Generally activists expect, even welcome, such ‘martyrdom’. And there are many cases where it might be justified, all legal avenues having failed. The problem here is that you’ve picked a fight over something that is *totally incomprehensible* to anyone outside the RoI, and so will not get much international sympathy, just “look at those daft Irish” type comments. Surely you’ve got many better issues worthy of a decent riot?
Slightly OT, but since Scandinavia has come up again, there may be some useful material here (only found the site yesterday so haven’t yet explored it) :
With respect, how precisely is it “incomprehensible” to other countries? We’ve never had to pay water charges before and now we do – plus property taxes and a myriad of other charges and taxes far too numerous to mention, and some folk take a bit of (rather mild by international standards) direct action. What’s incomprehensible about that? What about the poll tax riots in the UK? The much more recent anti-tuition fees riots in the same jurisdiction? The anti-austerity riots in Spain, Italy and Greece? The rights and wrongs of direct action are always debateable, but I think what many foreigners find incomprehensible is that the Irish have been so docile for so long. For example, the corporate media that propagandise on behalf of these measures continue to be supported by large swathes of the Irish public – including many who take part in anti-austerity protests. A boycott of the type instigated against the Sun by Merseysiders in response to that rag’s Hillsborough coverage would be an entirely lawful and peaceful way of shaking things up.
By the way I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into the views of those on corporate media comment forums – especially where Ireland is concerned. As even the corporate media themselves have been forced to acknowledge in recent times, many such forums betray the hand of coordinated manipulation. For example, I’m always struck by the way the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog explodes in a frenzy of Hibernophobic bile whenever ANY issue relating to Ireland is the topic. There are two possibilities here: either the Guardian forum is broadly representative of mainstream British opinion – in which case mainstream British opinion is rather unhealthily consumed with anti-Irish hatred – or trolls/shills are stirring the pot as a team.
Many foreigners are downright envious of the Irish standard of living.
Occupy wall street slogans are bullshit, because we’re not the 99%.
We’re the 1% globally – billions of people would risk their life to obtain our standard of living. (and they do – look how many are trying to cross the Mediterranean sea in flimsy boats every day)
Who “envies” the Irish?? People in Albania.
Croatia was involved in a huge civil war in the 1990’s…Their health service is way better than the Irish one. Sop i doubt they “envy” us.
I doubt anybody in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Holland etc..wakes up and says..Ohhh…I really need to be in Ireland right now.
And those people crossing the Med are looking to stay in Italy.Very few will be making a beeline for Ireland.
There’s a reason why Polish is 2nd most spoken language in Ireland.
I doubt anybody in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Holland etc..wakes up and says..Ohhh…I really need to be in Ireland right now.
Well, some of them certainly did – that’s why many of my colleagues are from those places.
I hear German, Spanish, Polish and French languages every day at my workplace.
Why did they decide to emigrate to a country that you call “a complete kip”?
Still no response to my central point – which was that we owe these bankers nothing. I never mentioned Occupy Wall Street or the 99 per cent. Slogans like “We are the 99 per cent” are indeed rubbish, but for reasons the reverse of those you give. Wealth is now concentrated in a much smaller proportion of hands than one per cent – and the quantitative easing that western governments undertook after the manufactured financial crisis of 2008 has severely exacerbated this concentration – which was probably the whole point. If many risk their lives to reach the west it’s often because the risk to their lives in their homelands is even greater – thanks to the many neocon wars instigated by the same forces holding Ireland and other countries to ransom.
What “these bankers” are you talking about?
You sound like a conspiracy nut,
“What “these bankers” are you talking about?”
Funny, your English usually seems surprisingly good (and even colloquial) for someone apparently born and raised in Latvia. What part of the word “banker” don’t you understand? As for the accusation of being a conspiracy nut: I take that as a great compliment – since it’s one of those feeble insults the mainstream media, for want of an argument, throw at folk who question their narratives. Human beings conspire. Anyone who thinks they don’t hasn’t been out and about much, or is rather on the nutty side himself.
“look at those daft Irish”
Yes, Marconatrix, that is exactly how my friends in Latvia reacted when I told them about the water protests… 😀
Do your “friends in Latvia” all read the Sunday Indo too? Remarkable!
Northsider @ I appreciate that the water protests may be similar to the British poll-tax protests and even riots of a few years back. They were though for many the last straw for people who’d had enough of Thatcher’s ‘reforms’. But to restate my points: (1) the protests will not easily gain sympathy abroad since most if not all countries have some kind of water charge; (2) people who engage in direct action usually accept the risk of arrest and/or prosecution, yet you seem to be complaining about this. For instance poll-tax protesters went to court in large numbers and saw that as part of their ‘action’.
What does surprise me is that you don’t seem to have developed a fairer political system, given that you have afaik a good PR system. Yet you still seem to suffer from “two main parties with little to distinguish them” and tribal loyalties (going back to the civil war??) which is usually the outcome of a FPTP system as in the UK.
Why should it be about gaining sympathy abroad? That should surely be at best a very minor considerations in struggles such as this. What can people abroad do to help anyway? And contrary to what you imply, I seem to remember anti-poll activists making quite a lot of fuss about being sent to jail – including at least one Labour Militant Tendency affiliated MP. My own theory is that the anti-poll tax riots were tacitly welcomed by the real power-brokers in the British establishment – since they frightened the middle-England Tory heartland and thus helped to see off Thatcher – who had outlived her usefulness to the globalist elite. That is why I don’t have any time for most of the left-wing groups involved in these protests – they’re controlled opposition. Most of them are simply Irish branches of British Trotskyist groups – Militant Tendency, SWP – and their rhetoric makes it clear that they tacitly accept the premise of the banker imposed austerity – and are really only arguing about the details, for politically opportunistic reasons. Tony Blair’s governments was stuffed to the gills with ex-communists and ex-Trotskyists, and no government – not even Thatcher’s – was as servile to banks and big business.
Give it a rest Janis.
If i wanted repetition of “you don’t know how good you have it” on every post I wouldn’t be looking at a blog which deals with a dying language, a marginalised social outlook and an obsolete ideology. As you share none of these interests I wouldn’t expect to encounter you policing the discussion but yet again, here you are.
I’ve heard my fill about Latvia.
Personally I find the contrasts between Latvia and Ireland very illuminating, not least regarding the language situations. Both are small countries, both are largely rural with a few moderate-sized urban areas, many of relatively recent growth. Both have a long history of colonisation, both saw their native language under threat. But then the big difference is that the RoI has been an independent country for almost 100 years and free from foreign invasion, whereas after gaining indy after WWI Latvia was occupied by the Russians, the Nazis and then the Russians again, during WWII, fought over twice in fact, and then spent over 40 years annexed to the USSR, complete with purges, mass deportations, mass Russian immigration etc. etc. Yet they’ve somehow survived all of that and come out with their culture and language intact and thriving. They even sing happy songs, whereas for the Irish, “all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad”.
There has to be something useful to be learned from this, so I appreciate Jānis’ contribs. But then I’m foreign too 😉
Marconatrix: I’m not sure how many Latvian songs you know, but something tells me you know very few Irish ones. And by the way, if Ireland’s nick is so very bad, and Latvia’s so very good, how come there are so very many Latvians in Ireland, and so very few Irish in Latvia?
First question :
A few, and they all seem to be if not happy, then pretty positive.
You could google “Latviešu (tautas) dziesma” and see what you get …
When the Irish sing in praise of a place they love, the subtext is always that they’ll never see it again. Please list some happy Irish songs, the only one I can immediately think of is _Óró ‘s é do bheath’ a bhaile_ and even that involves a battle or at least threat of battle. (To be honest though this is a more general Gaelic thing, Scots G. songs aren’t especially cheerful either). It may seem a trivial point, but I’m wondering just how important this is in putting a positive or negative spin on a culture and language?
Secong question :
This is really one for J. but I’d hazard it may have something to do with Latvians’ ability to speak good English and Irish people’s frequent inability to speak anything but Béarla. Also Latvia is perhaps just a bit too close to Russia for many people’s comfort.
somebody mentioned the war,maybe janis could enlighten us as to how many latvians were in the ss.i mention this as janis never tires of slagging off ireland as some sort of violent fucked up race.
Any relation to the SDLP politician of the same name?
“Please list some happy Irish songs”:
Let’s see :”The Rocky Road to Dublin”, “Biddy Mulligan, the Pride of the Coombe”, “Waxy’s Dargle”, “The Galway Races”, “Lisdoonvarna”, “Lannigan’s Ball”, “Are You Right There Michael?” to name just a few. Even Irish rebels songs (banned from Irish airwaves since the early 1970s), e.g. “Come Out You Black and Tans”, tend to be very jolly upbeat affairs.
“I’d hazard it may have something to do with Latvians’ ability to speak good English and Irish people’s frequent inability to speak anything but Bearla”.
That might partly explain why Irish people don’t go to Latvia (though there are many Irish expats in countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain etc.) but it doesn’t explain why, if Latvia is such a success story, so many Latvians come here to live and work. By the way, the suggestion that Irish people steer clear of Latvia for fear of the dastardly Mr Putin, is extremely far-fetched.
And they all are sung in the language of the invader, lol.
Yeah – Latvia still hasn’t reached the prosperity level of the Western Europe, but at least we managed to keep our language and culture. (the damn commies destroyed our economy and imposed their idiotic economic policy upon us for 50 years)
It’s far easier to fix your economy than resurrect the language and culture of your ancestors – and Ireland is a great example of that.
You can’t gain anything by throwing away your language and culture, because people are capable of speaking more than one language and translations are just not the same as the real thing.
We would not be any richer if we had dropped our own language and adopted Russian – in fact – we would be even poorer both economically and culturally.