When we posted video footage of the Garda riot at Reclaim The Streets 2002 on Facepuke back in May, we winced when some of ye didn’t instantly recognise it. Not remembering World Cup 1990, fair enough – RTS?
Shit, some of ye really are green around the ears. Us old codgers dusted off some memories of pigs misbehaving and compiled some of the worst incidents for #rabble8.
Several international human rights organisations have raised the alarm about how both Gardaí and Shell’s private security firm IRMS have dealt with protests around the Corrib Gas project. Former Garda sergeant and human rights observer Benny McCabe, reporting to justice and peace organization Afri, said that policing of Corrib had been an “anathema to the spirit of community policing”. He said: “Gardaí have been acting with impunity in north Mayo.” In 2007, Garda Superintendent Joe Gannon used a JCB and about 20 Gardaí to force through a crowd of local people gathered to support a local publican who didn’t want Shell using his land. The man phoned his solicitor and tried to get Gannon to speak to him, but instead Gannon got one of his men to cut the lock on the gate and help Shell get their way.
Reclaim The Streets 2002.
In total the police riot put 12 people in hospital and resulted in 24 arrests, one song by The Freebooters and hapes of video mash ups; charges of assault against 7 gardaí never made it to court and the one that did, that of Donal ‘Robocop’ Corcoran, resulted in acquittal. No disciplinary action was taken and a senior Garda blamed The Slate for the ruckus. The satirical magazine didn’t mince its response, with a “Pigs Out” cover featuring one of Templemore’s finest getting guillotined.
“That’s when the cop came over and hit me on the back of the head with a baton. I remember walking away and falling over. The next thing I remembered I was surrounded by a couple of my friends and my girlfriend at the time, they were trying to keep me awake. There was a bangarda there and she was redirecting traffic. My girlfriend went over and said ‘you need to call an ambulance, my boyfriend is hurt, he’s covered in blood’ but she refused. She was a traffic cop so she was in leather and she had the bike so I’m assuming they had a first aid kit there. An ambulance was called but when it arrived the bangarda redirected it. My girlfriend is going mental now, she’s screaming ‘what are you doing?’ My girlfriend heard her say that she wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.”
On 2nd June 2005 20yr old Terence Wheelock left his house on an errand. On foot of a car theft investigation he and 3 other boys in the area were summarily arrested. What happened in Store Street station that afternoon is still not known. What is beyond dispute is that he was put in a cell late that morning and that just under two hours later he was unconscious and very badly injured. He was rushed to hospital but he never recovered consciousness. Terence spent three months in a deep coma before dying in September 2005. The Gardaí have always claimed that his injuries were sustained during a suicide attempt when he tried to hang himself. Subsequent Ombudsman reports have not satisfied the Justice for Terence Wheelock campaigners.
Senior Gardaí planted hoax bombs and ammunition in the early 90’s to impress the RUC and their superiors with their detective skills. Superintendent Kevin Lennon and Detective Garda Noel McMahon enlisted the help of a star-struck Adrienne McGlinchey who ground fertiliser by hand in a coffee machine while watching television in her flat, stored bomb-making equipment in her bedroom, and delivered hoax weapons. She even made fake pieces of ammunition to the police officers’ specifications, including a bizarre “metal tube with fins coming out of it”. The Guards told the RUC that this was a new prototype IRA rocket.
While intimidation and physical force was used against Republicans in Ireland throughout our short post-independence history many believe that the days of the Heavy Gang – an internationally renowned group under the guidance of Commissioner Ned Garvey, later believed to have been working for British Intelligence, which beat, tortured and fitted up mainly republican suspects for crimes – it must be remembered that the ‘branch’ haven’t gone away. One Dublin political activist we spoke to is regularly approached on the street or in shops and has his details and registration plate recited to him by men in plain clothes.