By Direct Democracy Ireland
A number of Gardai at Drogheda Garda Station are being accused of Political Policing after a large group of people Received summonses for alleged Public order offences- it seems that the summonses are in connection with a protest that was held to oppose the installation of Water Meters at the Moneymore estate in Drogheda Co.Louth on Monday 1st Dec 2014. Anthony Connor of Direct Democracy Ireland stated the summonses came 6 months after the event and the timing has to be questioned: “I strongly suspect that Coffey’s (Irish Water) are returning back to Drogheda soon to finish installing Water meters. It’s my belief that Drogheda Gardai has charged a large number people in order to deter others from protecting their rights, to allow Coffey’s (Irish Water) install meters against peoples will. This is Political Policing. “I have never prevented a water meter being installed at any household that sought one, and have always treated Coffey’s (Irish Water) workers and the Gardai with utmost respect despite the alleged charges against me, but these false charges are a step too far. To invent such charges is never difficult and I currently have 3 against me! I plan to defend myself with every bit of strength I have; my motto is “If someone lies about you, tell the truth about them”.
“On the morning of 1 Dec 2014, at 7.30am, in a heavy-handed move 20+ Gardai arrived at the Moneymore estate with Coffey’s (Irish Water) in tow to install water meters. Drogheda Gardai, effectively acting as a bouncer service for Irish Water, set about trying to make an example of the residents in Moneymore to the rest of Drogheda- that meters were going in with or without consent- a move that seriously backfired and resulted in only a handful of meters being installed. Leaving senior Gardai hugely embarrassed “It is also worth noting that this was achieved by PEACEFUL means.
“We all know Garda resources are absolutely stretched to the limits- often people have to wait hours for Gardai to attend a scene after they have been called. Yet to facilitate Irish Water they had 20+ Gardai at the Ready, this is Political Policing and we need to take concrete steps to bring it to an end.
“Some of us in the Community now live in fear of not just Criminal activities but also the activities of the Gardai! I myself am now continuously harassed by certain Gardai- and for what? Standing up for my beliefs! I have always operated within the law and so I struggle to see any logic as to why the Gardai are focusing on me. One possible theory is my involvement in highlighting a case where a file into the tragic death of 19 Year old Drogheda Man Patrick O’Rourke in 1981 went inexplicably missing from Drogheda Garda Station: The incident that resulted in Mr. O’Rourke’s death involved sitting Fine Gael Drogheda Councillor Richie Cullhane who at the time was a serving member of An Garda Síochána based at Drogheda Garda Station. After contact was made with the Garda Ombudsman, who in turn then launched an investigation, the file was magically found(!). “It is my firm belief that certain individuals at Drogheda Garda station were none too pleased with my involvement in this the question must be asked what it is they had to hide?. After the success of the Right2Water march I helped organise that saw 10,000+ people take to the streets of Drogheda to oppose the water charges, the Gardai haven’t treated me the same, and that to me is political policing.
“I have witnessed some Drogheda Councillors literally click their fingers at Gardai who in turn would react to whatever actions that councillor wanted, e.g. having a person arrested for little more than voicing his opinion.” The close connection between Drogheda Gardai and some sitting councillors is been called into question. We need quality in how our Gardai treat people and a position of power should not allow privilege.
Direct Democracy Ireland do not argue for a sustained connection between protest movements, but we are gravely concerned given evident Government policy and political policing, with what appears to us to be a pattern of developments triggered by political conditions in this country that allows a once greatly respected police force become a tool for a government to force their draconian policies on a nation of people at breaking point. The quality of relations between the Gardai and the public is an essential basis for successful policing in Ireland, however it has become clear of late that these relations have been pushed to the limit and sometimes beyond, causing a strain in positive interactions between the Gardai and members of the public, threatening the trust of the public in our police force, as well as the very effectiveness of the force.
“I am currently working on my complaint to The Garda Obudsman (GSOC) about the activities of The Drogheda Gardai, and can’t go into to much detail as I am sure you will understand. I must wait until the outcome of my court appearances before I can release certain details about my ongoing harassment. While we may not have had the dawn raids like our counterparts in Dublin the intimidation was just as severe and continues to be.”
John F Kennedy once stated “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened”
Direct Democracy Ireland abhors political policing wherever and whenever it occurs, here or abroad, and will continue to do everything it can to uphold the basic rights of Irish citizens to Free Speech and Freedom of Expression. We all desire a peaceful and speedy resolution to this disturbing saga, We support Anthony and all the peaceful anti water meter citizens 100% and wish them the very best in these troubling times.