Garda harassment of Saoradh activists from Dublin, who were travelling to the Unfinished Revolution Easter Commemoration, backfired spectacularly when activists broadcast the boarding of their bus on facebook live, where it was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
A statement in relation to the bus being stopped by the Garda special branch in Dublin.
On Easter Monday a private bus hired by Saoradh in Dublin was stopped and boarded by the Garda Special branch after being followed for two hours on its way to Derry.
During the stop, a live facebook video was recorded which at the time of writing has being viewed 324,000 times and has caused quite a stir online and some confusion which we will now address.
Saroadh a political party dedicated to establishing a 32 county Irish Socialist Republic was formed in September 2016 with a branch in Dublin being formed straight away.
Two weeks after the founding of the party Saoradh in Dublin held its first meeting in a community centre in south Dublin but because the Garda special branch stood outside the centre harassing people including children, the centre asked us not to meet there again.
We then attempted to meet two weeks later upstairs in a pub in Dublin’s north inner city but again the Garda special Branch arrived in force and threatened the owner of the pub that if the meeting was not immediately cancelled he would lose his license.
We eventually found a community centre In Tallaght willing to hold our fortnightly meetings but after every meeting, our members are harassed by the Garda special branch.
This is blatant state harassment and for anyone who doesn’t know; the Garda special branch, also known as the SDU (Special Detective Unit), is a Garda unit dedicated to harassing political activists who don’t fit the establishment viewpoint.
A Garda can only stop someone if they believe that person has committed a crime or is about to. The Garda if in plain clothes, must firstly identify himself/herself with their ID, tell you what section you are being stopped under and what offence under that section you are suspected of committing. No matter what section you have being stopped under you only have to give your name and address. But when the Garda special Branch stop a political activist they usually use section 30 to frighten people but the same rules apply to this section when being stopped and searched.
Section 30 offences against the state act 1939 is draconian legislation brought out during WW2 is being used to stop and search political activists today and we are currently seeking legal advice about the constant use of this legislation to harass our members.
A few weeks ago Saoradh announced it was to hold a National 1916 commemoration in Derry and our branch in Dublin decided to run a bus to this event and publicly advertised the stops on facebook which started in Tallaght at 9 am and finished at the North City hotel Drogheda at 10.50am and then onto to Derry.
Three car loads of Garda special branch followed the bus at every stop and people getting on at Dorset Street had their names and addresses taken.
After we picked up at our last stop the unmarked Garda cars blocked the bus in and the Gardai led by Sean Earley boarded the bus.
He ordered everyone off the bus so the bus could be searched and when asked why he quoted section 30, this was then changed to the women and children could stay on the bus but the men would have to get off, so we all refused to leave especially seeing as there were no women Gardaí present, despite Garda Earley telling us there was.
He then said if we didn’t leave the bus we would all be personally searched so more Gardai boarded the bus, one clearly videoing all on the bus including the children and then our live video was recorded.
No one was searched but everyone had to give their name and address (for some it was their second time that day) despite no crime being committed which even the Gardai acknowledged. After roughly twenty minutes we were let go to continue on our journey.
We believe there were two reasons for our bus being stopped: one was so we would miss the march – if we had all got off the bus they would have dragged out searching the bus and those on board for at least an hour which would have meant us arriving late in Derry. The other reason is pure vindictive harassment – at least half on board the bus were not members of Saoradh so this was done to frighten them away as what usually happens next is a call to your home and employer.
In recent days there have been calls to ban the recording of Gardai, and certain Denis O’Brien controlled media have really been pushing this but we believe this would be totally wrong.
Over the last two years, Garda whistleblowers and some independent TDs have come forward with startling revelations about the Gardai which have included serious crimes, the deliberate tampering of statistics on the pulse system, covering up of murders, etc.
Just look how these whistleblowers have been treated by their own – what hope then is there for the rest of us.
The Gardai are a political police dedicated to the protection of the state at all costs; any so-called “dissenters” like water metre protesters are to be watched and harassed.
The Gardai are a corrupt police force from the top down and our members are on the receiving end of their harassment on a weekly basis and if you have any doubts about the integrity of the Garda Special Branch then please Google the name Padraig Boyce and read the first two links that come up and yes somehow he is still a serving Garda.
Saoradh Átha Cliath