No violence in our protests, just middle class kids with hankies playing revolution, says councillor
One of the reasons I attended the demonstration last Saturday at the Labour Party conference, along with many others from "Glór na Tuaithe", was to protest against the closing of Garda stations in rural Ireland. Like the Garda Representative Association we recognise the huge importance of rural stations, because we deeply appreciate the vital role the Garda plays in both rural and urban Ireland.
But I felt that we needed to bring our message to the door of the Labour conference so the party’s ministers, TDs, and faithful got to see how angry we are at their broken promises. So myself and some of my colleagues were at the vanguard of those who pushed and shoved their way through Garda lines. I stress there was no violence on our part, it was simply pushing and shoving.
Sure, there was a group of upper-middle class kids, some with hankies covering their faces, who were playing revolution: at least one such clown spat at the Gardaí. This sort of activity I would condemn as I do the use of pepper spray by the gardaí, which was a complete over-reaction.
However, after the use of the spray, the gardaí proved to be restrained. They are clearly disaffected too. And why wouldn’t they be: they are suffering just like the majority of Irish citizens. Their pay has been cut. They have homes as well that are to be taxed many times over. The education cuts are impacting on their children. They avail of rural post offices threatened with closure and believe rural Garda stations should remain open.
Our fight is not with the gardaí. It is with the bankers and speculators (both foreign and native) and the crooked politicians who brought us to this situation and who expect the people of this republic to pay for a crisis that is not of our doing.
Is mise le meas
Councillor Seosamh O Cuaig