Repression

Policing the anti-war movement in Ireland

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The following exploration of the policing of the anti-war demonstrations will be in two parts: the first will look at the change in policing through the eyes of a participant, a new activist, while the second will make a more thorough examination of the forces at work which lead to such a massive escalation in the policing of anti-war protest, particularly at Shannon, both on the side of the protesters and that of the gardaí.

Resisting Shell in Mayo and the experience of policing in Erris: an eyewitness account

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The following article is an eyewitness account of policing in Erris in Mayo where protests against Shell construction of a gas refineryare ongoing. The article gives some general background to the protests and details what it was like to see Garda brutality on a regular basis.

Reclaim the Streets 2002: a police riot and the aftermath

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The following piece is an interview with X, a victim of the police riot that took place May 6th 2002. The ‘Reclaim The Streets’ (RTS) protest tactic, hosting spontaneous temporary street parties in the name of community ownership over public space, emerged out of anti-capitalist and environmental grassroots politics in the UK in the early 90’s and rapidly spread across Europe, Australia, North America and later to South America, Asia and Africa attracting anywhere between a few hundred to tens of thousands of revellers. Following a successful first run of RTS in Dublin the previous year, the 2002 street party kicked off along Burgh Quay with about 400 partyers dancing to music played from a rig blocking one of the city’s main roads. The crowd soon doubled in size and the festival atmosphere continued for most of the afternoon until the police became hostile and began making arrests.

I still remember my first time

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I still remember my first time.  It was a fine sunny morning on the Easter bank holiday weekend in 1991.  I had just dropped my girlfriend off at an inter-city coach and was walking back past the bank on College Green when a voice behind me said ‘Stop, I want to talk to you for a minute’.  Presuming it was someone trying to sell me something, I waved them off, but then the guy in the badly fitting suit walked around in front of me, held out some sort of ID card and announced he was Special Branch.

The prisoner who disappeared…for a while

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Derek D from Ballymun was 24 years old in March 2007, when he was sentenced to two terms of imprisonment for firearms offences and sent to Mountjoy Prison. He was known in his area for being tough and had several previous convictions. By his own account, once in Mountjoy he put his head down to do his time and get out before he was 30 (27).  It was almost two years into these particular sentences, on 20th January 2009, when Derek D found two prison officers at the door of his cell telling him to follow them. Without notice, he was taken out and away to Portlaoise maximum security prison, without his clothes or belongings, where he was placed in isolation in a cell in a segregation unit in a block containing five separate units in the prison, used for punishments.

Terence Wheelock: looking for justice

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In June 2005 Terence Wheelock fell into a coma while in custody in a Dublin city centre police station. This 20 year old man never recovered from the injuries he sustained in a police cell and three months later he died. The family and friends of Terence Wheelock are still waiting for a credible and complete account of what happened in the station. This article tells the story of Terence Wheelock, the campaign for an independent inquiry into his death and the response of the the Irish state. A lot of the material used in this article was gathered in interviews with one of his older brothers, Larry Wheelock, who led the campaign looking for an independent inquiry into his Terence Wheelock’s death (21).

Working-class experiences of the Gardaí

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A current crisis - Today we live in a media-saturated society that sensationalises crime and gangland warfare in working-class communities.  Some say the media through its various functions has become a sort of moral barometer for the national imagination in terms of how the working classes are perceived.  This, perhaps, is done through newspapers' slash headlines like “Thugs never had it so good” or “Bugsy Malone gang terrorise North Dublin”, or through current TV shows that give a picture of working-class people as rough and disrespectable such as Jerry Springer or The Royle Family. All this actively contributes to the respresentation of the working classes as disresputable.

How the gardaí were made

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There is something mystifying about the police force in the Republic of Ireland. A force born out of a bloody civil war yet strangely absent from popular memories of those long years of violence. A force celebrated for its rootedness in Irish cultural practices yet operating in the same centralised, colonial model inherited from the Royal Irish Constabulary, the police force of British state.

Why we put this pamphlet together: Secrets, lies and unaccountable policing

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It really does not take a lot of effort to come across anecdotal evidence of insensitive and sometimes brutal policing in working class areas in Ireland.  As residents, community workers and educators in a wide variety of settings we have both personally experienced Garda violence and have heard countless negative stories about the gardaí.  These stories cover a wide range of issues. Most consistently people, usually but not exclusively young men, complain of insults, intimidation on the street and of physical violence during arrest and in custody.  The violence they describe is of varying degrees of seriousness and routinely involves minor assault (e.g. slaps, kidney punches and limb twisting etc) but more serious violence can and does occur (1).

Readers experiences of policing or comments on Make Policing History

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The is the readers comments page for the Make Policing History texts.  We want to hear what your experiences are or what your comments on the text are.

If you have not yet read the Make Policing History text click on this link.

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