WP condemn garda denial of freedom of speech

Gardaí wrestle megaphone from prominent human rights activist

Cllr. Ted Tynan at IPSC rally in Cork
Cllr. Tynan - longtime supporter of Palestinian rights

Workers Party councillor Ted Tynan has condemned the actions of gardaí in Dublin last night (Thursday) when they forcibly broke up a peaceful protest at an Israeli government sponsored film showing in Temple Bar and wrestled a megaphone from Corkman Dr. Fintan Lane of the Irish Ship to Gaza project while he was addressing the crowd.

Cllr Tynan, a member of Cork City Council, said that videos of the event which were posted on the internet were quite disturbing and showed clear use of heavy-handed policing.

Dr. Lane had been accosted by a senior garda while was addressing the crowd about the recent illegal boarding of the m.v. Saoirse in international waters and Dr. Lane’s detention in an Israeli jail.  The garda wrestled the megaphone from Dr. Lane while other peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from outside the venue by gardaí.

“This type of behaviour by gardaí is completely unacceptable.  People in this country have a constitutional right to peaceful protest and they were exercising that right last night when attacked by gardaí.  It would seem that Israel can illegally detain, shoot at and harass Irish citizens trying to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza without any real sanction from the Irish government, but when peaceful protest takes place at an Israeli sponsored event in this country the Irish forces of law and order seem determined to deny people the right to criticise Israel or embarrass her ambassador”, said Councillor Tynan

The Workers Party councillor called on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, who both attended the Israeli Embassy sponsored film showing, to see to it that the behaviour of the gardaí is investigated by the Garda Ombudsman. Cllr. Tynan said that the presence of two government ministers at the Israeli film festival was disturbing and particularly contrasted with Minister Gilmore’s stated concerns about Israel’s human rights record and occupation of Palestine. He accused Minister Gilmore of talking from both sides of his mouth when it came to human rights where Israel was concerned.

Issued 25th November 2011

Further information and photos of last night's protest from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity campaign website:

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics