UNWARRENTED , UNNECESSARY AND UNCALLED FOR GARDAI INTERFERENCE ENDS A GOOD NIGHT IN A BAD WAY….
[An update on the arrest of ‘Seán’ can be found at the bottom of this post , plus we have added two extra pics related to the function.]
PHOTO UPDATES – TUESDAY MORNING 21 APRIL 2009, 12.45AM : 3 PHOTOGRAPHS , SHOWING THE TWO UNIFORMED TROUBLEMAKERS INVOLVED AND ‘SEAN’ BEING HANDCUFFED….
First , for the benefit of our many readers who reside outside this State , a quick up-date on the accepted pub-closing times here: on any Saturday night in any pub in the 26-County State , last drinks are to be served by 12.30AM and normal practice is that ‘Drinking-Up’ time of usually 20 minutes or one-half hour is permitted after that time.
Last night (Saturday 18th April 2009) at exactly 12.30am two uniformed members of the Free State Garda Siochana, one male , one female, entered the 79’r pub in Ballyfermot , walked past the many customers that were in the downstairs bar , made their way to the stairs leading up to the function room and were asked at the top of those stairs by RSF security people what the problem was : the male cop replied that there was “reports of trouble on the premises” and that they were there to “sort it out” . They were told that there was no trouble at all on the premises , either in the bar , the lounge or the function room , but the two cops pushed past the RSF security people and practically ran into the function room , where the band was playing its second-last song , before finishing up proper by singing our National Anthem .
The cops were met with loud whistling and a slow-hand clap , and laughter, the group kept singing and everyone at the function carried-on singing along , talking to friends and finishing their drinks . The pub bouncer and one or two members of the pub staff entered the function room and asked those present to please finish their drinks as quickly as possible as the cops – both uniformed and plain clothes (Special Branch) – were outside the premises as well as inside , and were apparently determined to disrupt what remained of the event. It should be noted that two car loads of the State political police (six men) had been outside the premises since 7.30pm , stopping anyone entering the pub and demanding their names and addresses , regardless of whether those customers were going to the bar , the lounge or the ballad session .
Before leaving the function room at 12.40AM , the two cops stated that those present will have to leave the premises NOW, as they were “breaking the law” by drinking alcohol on a licensed premises after hours. The group were then singing their last song (before singing the National Anthem) and the serving bar in the function room was closed – lights off , ‘shutters down’ . The by-then approximate 60 people present were finishing the last of their drinks , putting their coats on , saying good-bye to their friends when, at 12.55AM , the two uniformed cops returned , notebooks in hand , and stood there uneasily as the National Anthem was sung by the group and by the remaining crowd . Once again , these two impartial enforcers of law and order had to walk past the punters in the downstairs bar to get to where the ballad session was being held and had practically ran up the stairs to the function room : once inside , they both proceeded to demand the names and addresses of the remaining customers , which immediately started a bit of a shouting match between the two cops , the customers and the RSF people present . One man in particular – we’ll call him ‘Seán’ for now (he is not an RSF member) , as we’re not sure whether this incident will be taken further by him or not – objected to the cops about the manner in which people at his table were being bullied by them and a verbal disagreement ensued between most of those still present and those two cops. The RSF people present , the pub bouncer and pub staff were all trying to calm things down and were advising people to vacate the premises ; the RSF people were advising people to do so as it was obvious thet the cops were out to stir things up.
The two uniformed cops left the premises , with those present also leaving . However , once outside on the footpath , we were met by a Special Branch car and two Gardai cars – about six uniformed cops , male and female, and three Special Branch men – ‘Seán’ was immediately approached by three uniformed cops and two of the Special Branch men and was grabbed by them and told he was being placed under arrest . He objected , as did we all , and an attempt was made by two male uniformed cops to place him in a head-lock whilst one Special Branch man and one uniformed cop attempted to wrestle his arms behind his back : as you can imagine , there was some shouting and pushing going on at this stage , with RSF members and others loudly accusing the cops of engineering this scenario by their intrusive “mini raid” on an up-to-then trouble-free event . RSF people told the uniformed cops that they were wittingly or unwittingly being used by the Special Branch to disrupt a political event – a fund raiser – and were not doing themselves any favours in the area by being seen to do so , as quite a crowd of homeward-bound locals from other venues had gathered to witness their ‘local neighbourhood cop’ , backed-up by their new-found friends in the Special Branch , rough-up a crowd of local people on the footpath outside a neighbourhood pub. ‘Seán’ was eventually dragged to a Garda car and bundled inside , despite the on-going protests of those members of the public who were observing all this , and the cop car sped away . A solicitor was contacted there and then and , realising that no more could be done at that time , interested parties exchanged or confirmed their contact details with each other in case this issue is brought further , and the crowds dispersed . Of their own free will, this time .
This was a blatant political action by the Special Branch , carried-out in full view of the public and backed-up by their uniformed colleagues , and came as no great surprise to the RSF people present : the only real surprise is the fact that it was carried-out in full public view as such actions are usually only undertaken when republicans have been isolated ie when and where the republican version can be denied by the State and their operatives. That is not the case in this instance and has had the effect that those who previously would have disputed events as outlined by us will now , at the very least , think twice before accepting the ‘official’ version .
I am not in any way being dismissive of the above-mentioned facts , but for me not to give a report on how the rest of that event went would be , I feel , to admit that the State had stunned , bullied and/or frightened me into silence and that they had ‘won’ , that they had obtained their objective ie to disrupt venues where republicans hold functions and to intimidate people into not attending same: and that’s not gonna happen!
It was a great night , despite the ending .
To an almost-full hall , the organisers welcomed those present and stated that they had sold over 200 tickets for the function in the previous month . They told the audience what the night was about – a fund raiser for the local RSF organisation , one of many which they had held in the area – and the band , the ‘Sons Of Erin’ , were thanked for being so professional about their business , as they were set-up , tuned-up and ready to go ! And special mention here to a young lad from the audience , Pat , who had brought a tin-whistle with him and joined in with the group , on stage , brilliantly playing along in three songs : he could hold a crowd on his own , never mind with a ballad group to supply ‘backing vocals’ !
It was highlighted from the stage that the intended raffle had been improved on – as well as the already-advertised two t-shirts , two bodhrons , framed 1916 Proclamation and bottle of whiskey , raffle prizes (on a ‘winner-picks-their-own-prize’ basis) now included a second bottle of whiskey (thanks to ‘G’ from the pub) , a POW plaque , made and signed by the CIRA POW’s in Portlaoise Prison, one bottle of vodka (thanks to Anto) and , courtesy of the ‘Sons Of Erin’ group, two Irish rebel CD’s. Eleven prizes in total,at no extra raffle-ticket charge!
Attention was also drawn to the intended picket and protest to be held on Sunday 19th April , at 2.30PM , outside No. 16 Moore Street in Dublin city centre , and the reasons for this action were mentioned .
The whole event – apart from the raid – was a huge success , with hundreds of Euro being made by the local RSF people , and new support and contacts being established. The organisers thanked , amongst others, Frankie , Cathy and young Travis* (*for being with us in spirit – all 8 years of him!) and made special mention of the pub management and staff and the audience for not being intimidated by the nuisance presence (at that time, those causing the nuisance were only outside) of the State representatives , who were then content in ‘only’ trying to turn people away from the venue.
The night was a success in another way , too – it exposed the lie that ‘your local neighbourhood cop’ is a ‘fair and impartial creature’ in all circumstances , and showed them up to be the arrogant ‘wanna-be-detective-in-plain-clothes’ that most of them seek to be . In this instance , they showed – in full view of their neighbours – that that is what they are ; promotion-seeking bullies in uniform , prepared to use those that they live beside as a mere step on the promotional ladder , something republicans had being saying all along. Well done the boys and girls in blue – you reinforced our case for us in public!
We publish a few photo’s of the ballad session with this post with, hopefully , a few more to follow as soon as we can get them :
Thanks for reading!
[UPDATE : our information is that ‘Seán’ was released on ‘station bail’ this morning (Sunday 19th April 2009) and that he was , at first , denied access to a solicitor by the State Gardai. However , his colleagues outside had already arranged for a legal rep to visit him and that visit went ahead. Our information is that he has been charged with ‘disorderly conduct/making a threatening gesture’ and the case will be heard in Dublin in early May ’09. Our information is that the cops apparently got ‘abusive’ when he wouldn’t allow them to fingerprint him – he had done nothing which warranted him being fingerprinted – and , we believe, they got equally ‘abusive’ when he refused to be photographed holding a placard which the cops ‘insisted’ he should hold. On a personal note , I wish to add that the conduct of the State Gardai that night – especially and more so the female Garda – was actually embarrassing to watch : they tried to strut , shape and behave like their male colleagues , yet used the fact that they were female to try and get away with behaviour that their male colleagues wouldn’t dare chance themselves. It was disgusting to watch them make fools of themselves like that.]