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?