In what has to be one of its odder decisions Morning Ireland this morning decided that the best voice of opposition to the Property Tax was obviously someone from Finna Fail the political party who began the process of bringing the tax in. The property tax was part of the package of cuts Finna Fail agreed with the Trokia while in government. To most people the more obvious voice of opposition would certainly be the mass campaign of some 50% of households that has refused to pay the Household Charge, the fore runner of the property tax. That campaign also brought thousands of people to protest outside the Fine Gael ard fheis.
A huge secretive Garda security operation Sunday night swung into operation in Dublin Port as Shell's Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) left the port as part of a huge convoy of Garda vehicles. News of the operation had leaked at the last minute meaning that with only an hours notice a handful of Shell to Sea campaigners managed to get down to the port entrance despite the pouring rain. Most of us were pulled over and questioned by Garda at least once and the Garda helicopter stayed overhead as various Garda vehicles including a van load of riot cops with the door open drove past us repeatedly.
In a new twist to the decade long struggle against Shell Rossport Solidarity Camp has revealed that Mayo County Council (MCC) has issued an eviction notice to the landowner of the field where the Rossport Solidarity Camp is located. Mayo farmer Gerry Burke has been threatened with fines of over €12,000 and two years in prison. Despite these theats the annual June Bank Holiday solidarity gathering will go ahead in a couple of weeks.
Saturdays Household tax demonstration in Galway at the Labour Party conference saw angry scenes after Garda attempted to keep the protesters out of sight and sound from the conference venue. Students who were being kept off their own campus were particularly annoyed and led a push against the Garda barriers during which several of them were attacked with pepper spray. They did however succeed in removing the barriers with the result that around 1,000 of the 4,000 or so Household tax demonstrators were able to march to the door of the conference center to protest in full sight of the Labour party delegates inside.
A number of WSM members were present at the protest, either with their various local Household tax delegations or with FEE, the student group. One of them was among the people pepper sprayed. We asked them to give us their accounts of what happened on the day.
Saturday's National Rally against the Household Tax in the National Stadium was literally filled to overflowing. As well as nearly 3,000 people crammed into every possible space in the Stadium another 4 to 500 were in the car park at the side, unable to fit into the building. And the thousands who attended were angry, energized and expectant of victory. The National Stadium normally hosts boxing marches but the atmosphere on Saturday topped that of watching a home fighter coming out on top in a close fought bout.
Shocking video has emerged of a Garda attack on a local resident, John Monagahan, at a roadblock the police were operating on behalf of Shell. The video shows the car being stopped at the roadblock and then you can hear the Garda smashing in the drivers window of his car with a baton before threatening to pepper spray him. John had just left his home some 500m away.
Over 100 people took part in a picket at City Hall in Dublin last night to protest the Household tax. The protest was timed to coincide with a motion opposing the household tax proposed by Cllrs Louise Minihan, Cieran Perry, Pat Dunne and Brid Smith.
Station’s crime correspondent Paul Reynolds falsely reported that recording of Garda rape conversation was ‘tampered with’
Shell to Sea has revealed that RTÉ is being compelled to broadcast an apology ahead of Wednesday's Six-One and Nine O’Clock TV news programmes, as a result of RTÉ's biased coverage of Shell's attempt to build an experimental gas pipeline and refinery in Erris. In this specific case, RTÉ chose to ignore the facts as explained to them by Shell to Sea around technical issues concerning the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation into the conversation Garda had about threatening to rape two women Shell to Sea campaigners they had arrested in April this year. RTÉ instead reported as fact the false suggestions of Justice Minister Alan Shatter, that part of the recording of the arrest had been deleted.
Saturday saw the 2nd Spectacle of Defiance & Hope take place in Dublin, just ahead of the budget cuts that are expected to further devastate community organisations & services. The Spectacle describes itself as a "broadly based alliance of community organisations from Dublin and beyond" and also represents an attempt to break from the standard pattern of demonstrations in Dublin to create something more fun, participatory & engaging.
About 40 Shell to Sea campaigners blocked the Aughoose compound this morning (Nov 11) - all Shell employees were prevented from entering compound between 7.30 and 9.30. The road was kept open to local traffic by the campaign. There was no Garda presence. Just after 10 Shell to Sea activists started setting up an Occupy Shell Corrib Camp at the gates of the refinery in a show of solidarity with the global Occupy movements!