“I wouldn’t second guess a decision of a chief superintendent” says Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan about how a subordinate, Chief Supt. Orla McPartlin, is again denying us the right to make door-to-door collections. Well I will second guess it because, unlike the commissioner, I’m interested in justice. I won’t rehash the story of how this jumped up McPartlin person has been and still is using a relatively obscure statute, The Street and House to House Collection Act 1962 in an effort to choke the life out of the AAA in the Tallaght/Jobstown area, perhaps the most blatant piece of political policing in the history of the state, except to say there can be no other interpretation of her actions, once the relevant part of the act, section 9 (c) is examined. This states a “chief superintendent shall not grant a collection permit for any collection in respect of which (s)he is of the opinion that ….proceeds of the collection or any portion thereof would be used in such a manner as to encourage, directly or indirectly, the commission of an unlawful act.” What unlawful act? McPartlin refers to ‘arrests’ that have taken place during protests, but arrests are not the same as convictions. As Paul Murphy says “innocent until proven guilty,” and no police officer, of any rank, can act as judge and jury, or decide whether the acts leading to arrest where actually unlawful. Not in a true democracy anyway. Of course The Law And Order Brigade within the Irish establishment/media, the crowd who tut-tut about ‘due process’ and ‘a person’s right to their good name’ when corrupt politicians, bankers and businessmen rob the Irish people blind and walk away smirking (didn’t Fingers Fingleton look cocky last week) can claim that the democratic will expressed through the oireachtas 53 years ago confers legality and legitimacy on McPartlin’s behaviour today, but the key to the matter lies in the fact that the act was passed 53 years ago. 1962 was the immediate aftermath of the IRA’s failed ‘border campaign,’ a moment when it was still unclear whether that campaign might recommence, a time when subversion of the state by an anti democratic faction, using money collected from misguided patriots, was a real possibility. Nobody who framed or voted through legislation in those circumstances could possibly have foreseen its use, six decades later, against those trying to prevent subversion of the republic by an anti democratic faction, the neoliberal elite. If that’s what this state has come to, if that’s what the Irish establishment are willing to try, if that’s what the media will countenance without breathing the words due process, if that’s what Sinn Fein supporters will crow about, then it’s time to say Up The Rebels- the real ones!


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