Release Maura Harrington and secret police shennagans

img_4575.jpgOn Saturday after taking part in a distribution of the latest issue of Workers Solidarity in the Liberties I headed to the GPO for a rally demanding the release of Shell to Sea campaigner Maura Harrington whose imprisonment I have previously blogged. Around 50 people had gathered at the GPO in Dublin to demand the release of Shell to Sea campaigner Maura Harrington. After a short period at the GPO we went up to Mountjoy prison where Maura has been held since Wednesday evening.


As well as Dublin Shell to Sea activists the picket was joined by a number of Tara activists. Tara is an ancient archelogical site which is being bulldozed to make room for a new motorway.  There has been a long running if somewhat strange campaign against the motorway.  Strange as in splits over who the real chief druid is strange, have a look though the Tara material on indymedia to get a full idea.

At Mountjoy was notable that a very high percentage of passing car and pedestrians expressed support for the demand that Maura be released. Every taxi that passed beeped in solidarity.

The vendictive decision to jail Maura comes at a very significant time when mass opposition to growing to the attacks on Irish workers coming out of the crisis in capitalism. At the same time as the government is proclaiming that there is no choice but to slash our wages, conditions and access to services they continue to give away for free hundreds of billions of euro worth of hydrocarbon deposits at Corrib and elsewhere off the west coast.

As usual we went for a few pints after the protest where the discussion revolved around republicanism and the killings of two soldiers and a cop in the north by dissident republicans.  Most everyone, anarchist or republican, I've talked to about this sees the dissidents return to militarism as a complete dead end although an article published by another WSM member on indymedia saying this has attracted some hostile commentary.

Later still we went to the Climate Camp fundraiser in Seomra Spraoi.  On Thursday there had been a Shell to Sea meeting held at Seomra and the secret police had turned up outside, trying to question people coming and leaving and following at least one person for some distance after they had left.  Perhaps unsurprizingly on Saturday night it was the turn of the uniforms, presumably acting under branch orders who were constantly cruising down the laneway where the center is located and trying to engage those on the door in conversation.  Rather weirdly on being told that one of the things that happened in the centre was film screenings one of the Gardai recommend Battle of Algiers.

The party itself was very low key (read poorly attended) and without loud music or anything else that might have otherwise explained the Gardai's attention to the building that night.  The excuse they offered was that they wanted to check if alcohol was being sold within, it wasn't, the SS collective are very rigorous in avoiding creating any such excuse. The Gardai were refused entry and choose not to push it that evening but this is obviously a worrying (if inevitable development) for the collective as the Gardai have succeeded in getting previous premises closed down.

This is pretty typical of the low level harassment the secret police engage in.  It's purely designed to cause hassle and annoyance and to make it more difficult to organise - targtting the venues where radical meetings are held has been going on decades.

Rally at GPO
Rally at GPO

At the gates
At the gates


Maura's husband outside Mountjoy
Maura's husband outside Mountjoy

WORDS Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )



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