Monday, 23 February 2015

Hunger Strike & Political Policing

Derek Byrne
on hunger strike at Wheatfield Prison.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has condemned the jailing of anti-water meter protestors. 

“ The court has jailed these protestors at the behest of the Denis O’Brien owned GMC Sierra, so that they can continue to try to impose water meters on communities which have risen up in peaceful protest against their installation. Once again, the courts have been used to attack the right of people to engage in peaceful protest."

“ The attacks from the state on the campaign against water charges needs to be met with a significant response by the campaign and communities, the protest which has been organised against political policing following the Jobstown arrests on Saturday can be a response in opposition to these attacks. ”

Paul Murphy TD

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said “ The jailing of these protestors and the arrests in Tallaght is an attack on the right of communities to protest against the imposition of austerity measures, in this case the water charge and meters, which are being imposed by the government despite the massive opposition to them."

AAA Councillor Michael O’Brien is a councillor for the area and is involved in the protests said: “This is a disgraceful attack on the right of a community to defend itself through mass peaceful protests against the imposition of austerity."

“The protests have been met with organised violence from the state through the Gardaí. The Gardaí have acted as bully boys on behalf of the government and GMC Sierra through physical attacks and harassment of those who have engaged in the protests."

“These jailings will not deter people from protesting against the installation of water meters and will be met with a firm response by the communities and the anti-water charges movement.”

Councillor Michael O’Brien explained that he had dropped by Wheatfield prison on his way back from visiting family in Enfield over the weekend. Most of the protesters had gone but he had the fortune of meeting a member of one of the jailed activist's family. The most disturbing thing about their incarceration is the 23 hour solitary lockdown which is normally reserved as a punishment for infractions committed inside the prison but not in this occasion.
She told him that the governor claimed it wasn't his decision to place them in solitary and permit them only two visits per week. Michael O’Brien said “This stinks of a spiteful political intervention from on high to psychologically break our fellow activists and this no doubt helped provoke Derek and Ollie's decision to go on hunger strike (I hope Derek and Ollie back down on this by the way)."
"Back during the bin tax struggle the overwhelming majority of the twenty something people who were banged up were put in the training unit in Mountjoy which, while being no holiday, allowed for the maximum possible free association, visits, activities and even phone calls from the outside. The few who were put in the regular Mountjoy prison at least had a 'normal' routine of two to a cell and association times etc." 
Paul Murphy TD, Anti Austerity Alliance, said he would seek permission from prison authorities to visit the two protesters today. He said he did not advocate the use of hunger strikes as a tactic but hoped to broker a deal with the authorities which would see the prisoners being moved back to Mountjoy Prison.

Post script
Imprisoned water charges protesters will step up their hunger strike from this morning by refusing fluids in opposition to their transfer to Wheatfield Prison.

Visit link below

Historically hunger striking links back to the ancient Celtic practise of Fasting against Injustice.


  1. Oh dear, scary stuff. Now where is democracy...smacks very much of dictatorship. To put people in solitary confinement for protesting...just shocking, and shows that such a government is capable of anything.
    Margaret x

  2. This is terrible, how can they jail people for protesting, surely that is against their human rights. I am truly shocked by this.

    1. The judiciary is unfortunately not an independent institution.


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