Political policing – the dark side of the Irish State revealed

The Irish State wants to frighten us. They want to scare us away from the August 29th mass protest against water charges- that’s why it is no coincidence that Paul Murphy of the Anti Austerity Alliance is waiting for the police to come knocking on his door.

Socialist Worker

Political policing – the dark side of the Irish State revealed

The Irish State wants to frighten us. They want to scare us away from the August 29th mass protest against water charges- that’s why it is no coincidence that Paul Murphy of the Anti Austerity Alliance is waiting for the police to come knocking on his door.

That’s why the Government leaked details of the case to the media- they want to associate the mass peaceful protest coming on August 29th with the threat of arrest. The trumped up charge of ‘kidnapping’ after a peaceful act of civil disobedience sets a dangerous precedent for future resistance to water charges, the housing crisis and austerity.

The Irish State has a long history of using the police to intimidate activists and of criminalising dissent. The official narrative is that the Irish State was founded by brave revolutionaries when in fact it was founded by the counter revolution.

The first Irish Government- Cumman na nGaedheal –were the most conservative elements of the fight to remove the British Empire. They set themselves the task of consolidating the Irish State machine and bringing the social flux of the revolutionary years to an end.

When J.J. Walsh, Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, resigned in 1927 he said they had gone ″over to the most reactionary elements of the state″. They allied themselves with the Anglo Irish elite, the big farmers and the Church hierarchy- all of whom had an interest in rolling back the militancy of the revolutionary years.

77 Republican and anti-capitalist agitators where shot without trial, army pensioners where used to break up strikes. When the Minster for Justice Kevin O’Higgins established the police force they were immediately set to work intimidating Republican activists and striking workers.

The formation of the first Fianna Fáil government on 9 March 1932 saw a continuation of the war against dissent. Despite their origins in the anti-treaty movement Fianna Fáil had no interest in challenging capitalism or the State- they wanted to cut Ireland off from Britain and build a local elite.

This new elite saw the State treasury as a source of the capital necessary to kick start their empires. Tight networks developed between the political dynasties, the economic elite and the State. Cronyism and corruption are endemic in all capital societies but particularly in Ireland given the history and development of the State.

The Irish State therefore built up an apparatus of surveillance to monitor threats to the Golden circle. The excuse was that they had to keep an eye on the IRA- but once such a system of police spying and intimidation exists it can be turned on all those who oppose the system.

The recent GSOC scandal gave a glimpse under the rock. The Garda Ombudsman – where people take complaints against police criminality- was being spied on. Garda Special Branch, the Defence Forces Intelligence Branch (G2) and the Revenue Commissioners have lawful powers to engage in surveillance.

On December 2nd 2003 Kieran Boylan was caught by members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in a ‘Garda stakeout’ receiving more than €700,000 worth of cocaine and heroin at Dublin Port. He was charged and released on bail.

On February 4th 2007 John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that charges against Boylan, in relation to the €1.7million drugs haul, were struck out. The police were worried that GSOC were investigating the case.

Cases of police intimidation of activists are numerous- from the shooting of activists after the War of Independence to the beating of Shell to Sea protesters in Mayo. The courts have been used as a weapon to slap injunctions on striking workers such as the Greyhound workers and the MTL dockers.

The water movement is one of the largest mass movements since the foundation of this State- we cannot let them intimidate our protests off the streets. That’s why the SWP will be building for the biggest possible turnout on August 29th. We also call on everyone to support the Tallaght 23.

The Irish State was founded by a counter revolution and has used the war on Republicanism as an excuse to criminalise and politically police all dissent. We have to remove the parties of the Golden circle in the coming election but any movement for change must also dismantle the corrupt structures of the Irish State.

Only a mass people power revolution can manage this task.

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