News

Divide and Conquer

Kevin Brannigan reacts to the media onslaught on the right to protest.

An article headlined “Gardaí on alert for Dublin protest” published this evening on the Irish Times website is a clear attempt by the political establishment to divide protesters and create an atmosphere of fear amongst those attending.

Garda Chief Supt Michael O’Sullivan is quoted as saying “there are individuals and groups who seek to exploit such events for their own ends”. This is a globally recognised police tactic of trying to divide the movement into “good” and “bad” protesters. This follows weeks on from disturbances at the national student march where Gardaí in riot gear launched an unprovoked attack on demonstrators.

At the time the Garda press office claimed that the disturbances were caused by “left wing extremists” who “hijacked” the march. What became evident from reviewing video footage however, was that the so-called guardians of the peace battoned people staging a peaceful sit down protest at the department of finance and later charged protesters without provocation at St. Stephen’s Green. Only three protesters were arrested while twenty eight allegations were made to the ombudsman against the Gardaí. Nineteen of these allegations are being investigated.

For an entire week, the national broadcaster, RTÉ went along with the version of events supplied by the Garda press office. During this week, footage of what really happened was viewed by tens of thousands of people on youtube and RTÉ came under huge pressure to report the truth. It eventually aired the following report in which they admit RTÉ had their own footage all along.

Another issue that arises from the Irish Times article is that of “churnalism”. This is a negation of journalism where by overworked news writers under pressure to churn out copy simply rework official press releases without investigating their accuracy. To illustrate this read the article from The Irish Times here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1126/breaking27.html and then read the official Garda press release here: http://www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?Page=6595

All this calls into question the role of the Garda Síochána. Millions upon Millions of euro of taxpayers’ money has been spent on protecting the Shell operation in the west of Ireland to extract €450 Billion worth of natural gas which the state handed over for virtually nothing.

They are also on constant guard at the headquarters of Anglo-Irish bank protecting the economic terrorists who created the mess that we are now being asked to pay for.
When the Gardaí attack what they call “left wing extremists” by force or by word, they are not just attacking people; they are attacking a set of ideas that offer an alternative to the rotten neo-liberal ideology that the political establishment and the business elite have foisted on us for the last two decades.

They are defending a system that has allowed the wealth created by workers in Ireland to be transferred to 1% of the population along with big multinationals that repatriate profits to their home countries. They are defending the notion that we, the people should pay for the crisis caused by bankers, property speculators and politicians. We should not be intimidated. Don’t let them divide us with their campaign of misinformation. The future depends on us all.

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