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Irish Writers Open Letter on The Jobstown 18

category national | crime and justice | feature author Monday April 24, 2017 10:42author by 1 of indy Report this post to the editors

featured image

To help highlight the case of the Jobstown 18 we are republishing an open letter by Irish Writers.

We write as writers concerned with the impact of proposed jury restrictions in the case of the Jobstown 18 on freedom of expression in Ireland.

These three proposed restrictions from the DPP are particularly objectionable in this regard:

“People from the Jobstown/Tallaght area and people with such connections to the area as would give rise to a concern thatthey could not deal with the case impartially.”

“Persons who are active in any campaigning groups either for or against water charges (whether formal or informal).”

“Persons who have expressed themselves in public, whether on the Internet, in the print media (newspapers), broadast media(radio or television), on social media (including Facebook, Twitter, on-line comment pages of websites or newspapers or any other form of social media) or otherwise on publically available mediums, on issues concerning water charges and/or the events on the 15th November 2014….”

We believe that these absurd restrictions, if enacted, would allow for the handpicking of a jury intentionally & heavily weighted against the defendants. Everyone in Ireland has been involved in the water charges debacle; it is one of those issues where you are either for or against it.

Going by the proposed restrictions only those who are for water charges will be allowed on the jury, deciding the case in advance in favour of the state & the privateers. This is the tactic of a dictatorship, a show-trial tactic.

Every member of a trade union is signed up to the water charges campaign through ICTU. Besides this the vast majority of the Irish working class have campaigned or expressed themselves against the charges. Therefore these restrictions exclude almost the entire Irish working class – that is, all those who could justly be regarded as peers of the Jobstown 18 from serving on a jury which is to decide their guilt or innocence on charges of an extremely serious nature.

We believe that the right to a jury of your peers is an essential aspect of the right to a fair trial.

Also, it would be comical to suggest that the state is neutral on the issue of the monetisation of Irish water resources. The state has at all times been an active agent in the promotion of water charges. Should the state be true to principle of legal neutrality, it would have to withdraw the charges. Water charges campaigners being tried by the Irish State is the equivalent of mice being tried by cats – it is patently & a priori imbalanced & fundamentally unjust.

Sadly, it is obvious to us as it to so many other observers in Ireland & Internationally that this whole affair is not in the least a matter of neutral justice, but of political revenge against a movement which has shaken corporate Ireland to the core.

Attempting to stack the jury against the peaceful defenders of the principle of free water is of a piece with the uncalled for aggression of Gardai against working class communities throughout the water charges campaign, with the deliberate & co-ordinated villification of working class protesters by the corporate & state media, with the dawn raids against campaigning teenagers, with the fake outrage against water defenders expressed in often lurid terms by right wing politicians.

All of these are tactics of those who would place a price on water intended to demonise, isolate, & ultimately destroy the movement of those who would not.

In a deeply divided class society such as Ireland, where all mainstream means of expression are effectively under the control of a tiny & undemocratic minority acting solely in their own minority interests at all times, the only form of expression left to the majority is protest. It is therefore absolutely vital for any form of democracy to operate in ireland that the right to peaceful protest, including sit-down protest & including the temporary inconveniencing of politicians be defended.

Put plainly, the aim of the repression of the water charges campaign is to shut the working class up so the ruling class can get on with with its business of privatising everything & making as much profit as can be made without regard to the social & cultural consequences for everybody else.

We therefore call on all with a genuine interest in freedom of expression in Ireland to join with us in condemning the attempt by the DPP to pack the Jury against the Jobstown 18, whose courage, principle & dignity we honour & admire.

Yours Sincerely

Christy Moore
Dave Lordan
Elaine Feeney
Sarah Clancy
Colm Keegan
Emmet Kirwan
Terry McMahon
Devin Doyle
Karl Parkinson
Frankie Gaffney
Willam Wall
Oisin O Faogain
Brian Hanly
Keith Payne
Mia Gallagher
Tyler McNally
Claire Hennessy

Aiden O Reilly
Lewis Kenny
Lisa Dee
Michael O Loughlin
Anne Mulhall
John Molyneaux
Annamaria Crowe Serrano
Joe Horgan
Kevin Curran
Dylan Brennan
Raymond Deane
Alice Kinsella
Victoria Keating
Caroline Farrell
Arnold Thomas Fanning
Maureen Ruprecht
Ann Farrelly
Bairbre Flood
Kathryn Keane
Jessamine O Connor
Taryn De Vere
Andrew Galvin
Mick Blake
Maragret O Driscoll
Conor Malone
John Cunningham
Kevin Higgins
Mari Maxwell
Sorcha Nic An TSionnaigh
John Green
Colin Dardis
Jessica Keye
Trish Groves
Tina Pisco
Cormac Lally
Susan Millar Du Mars
Andrej Kapor
Cherley Kane
Goretti Horgan
Eamonn McCann
Stephen Murray
Ciaran O Rourke
Deaglain O Donghaile
Polina Representeva
Catherine Ann Cullen
June Caldwell

Related Link: https://bogmanscannon.com/2017/04/21/irish-writers-open-letter-on-the-jobstown-27/
author by 1 of indypublication date Sat Apr 29, 2017 00:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joan Burton will begin her second day in the witness box today. She will continue to be questioned by barristers for the defence.

Hopefully, this means that the media will actually cover the arguments of the defence barristers.

Yesterday, Joan Burton gave her testimony for an hour and was crossed examined for 3 hours by the defence. Yet, all the media coverage focused on her testimony.

There was very little coverage of the 3 hours of defence questioning. The Irish Times, supposedly the paper of record devoted a whole 6 lines from their coverage to the defence.

Not to be outdone, Denis O Brien’s Indo didn’t report on the defence questioning, instead just making a passing reference to the fact that they questioned her.

For 2 years in the lead up to this trial the media imposed a black-out of the #jobstownnotguilty campaign saying that they couldn’t report on it because it was ‘before the courts’.

Any ordinary person would think that since it is now before the courts they would report it, but it seems that they are just intent on ignoring the campaign and will continue will continue with their one-sided coverage!

Related Link: https://jobstowntrial.wordpress.com/
author by 1 of indypublication date Sat Apr 29, 2017 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were audible gasps from the packed courtroom on day 5 of the #jobstownnotguilty trial during the cross-examination of Joan Burton.

Burton was being questioned for a second day by the barristers for the defendants.

The line of questioning was focused on the impact of the austerity policies which were implemented by the Fine Gael/Labour government, and how there was widespread anger against the sell-out of the Labour Party on most of it pre-election promises.

The defence put it to Button that her party had been ‘wiped out’ & ‘destroyed’ because they had betrayed people. She replied by defending their record and her own record personally, but accepted only that there a ‘perception’ that they had broken promises.

The defence pointed out that this anger was reflected in the 2016 general results when the Labour Party dropped to 7 seats.

Burton put this down to ‘populist politicians’ from the ultra left who wanted to ‘destroy’ the Labour Party & social democracy.

There was a gasp in the courtroom as she then proceeded to tell the court “I’m one of the people who succeed James Connolly as leader of the Labour Party……and I carry on his ideas”. Then accused political opponents on the Left of wanting to destroy Connolly’s party.

author by 1 of indypublication date Mon May 01, 2017 21:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joan Burton’s performance in the witness box today was nothing short of incredible, with hammed up account of a ‘terrifying’ couple of hours in the back seat of a heated jeep. As well as bizarre, some of her testimony simply did not make sense. Here are three examples

1) ‘No reductions in weekly social welfare rates’

When asked if she accepted that large sections of Irish society were angry at the betrayals and broken promises of the labour party in government, she repeatedly claimed to have gotten an equal amount of positive responses and even boasted that she had gotten an “award” from the trade union movement! Apparently even the wipe out of the Labour Party in the general election wasn’t enough to impress this on her. But then this is a woman who can still claim with a straight face, and while under oath, that she made “no reductions in weekly social welfare rates”. Tell that to lone parents with children aged over 7, or young people whose dole was cut.

2) Selective deafness

Straining credibility even more, if that were possible, we’re supposed to believe that since childhood she has suffered from a rare medical condition that renders her incapable of hearing loud political chanting right in front of her. What a terrible affliction it must be to be only capable of hearing “abuse” (for Burton this included justified chants of “shame on you!”) in fact, so selectively damaged is her poor hearing that when played a clip of a woman shouting “my children are fucking starving because of you” and asked “did you hear that?” She responded in an offended tone, “Well, I heard the ‘fucking'”‘

3) A modern day James Connolly & Michael Collins all rolled into one

A final incredible dimension of Burton’s testimony today was her comparisons of herself and her situation to famous Irish historical figures. Sitting in a Garda jeep, with dozens of gardai between her and an angry crowd of protesters and reading an Irish times article about Michael Collins, she pondered “how Michael Collins would have felt”. The absurdity of this comment sparked laughter in the court room – was she seriously comparing being delayed in a Garda jeep surrounded by gardai for a couple of hours to the ambush and assassination of Michael Collins in Beal na Blath?

If that was ridiculous, her claim to be carrying on the ideas of James connolly by slashing social welfare and working people’s living standards while propping up a blueshirt FG government was insulting and outrageous. ”
“I am one of the people who succeeded James Connolly.”, she preened, “It’s always been an honour to be in his party and carry on his ideas”.

For Joan, so accustomed to spinning and twisting in the Dail, the fact she was in a witness box under oath was no deterrent.

Related Link: https://jobstowntrial.wordpress.com/
author by T. Olstoypublication date Tue May 02, 2017 09:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Going down the list of Irish writers who have expressed solidarity with the Jobstown martyrs, I recognise Christy Moore (a popular songwriter & singer) and David Lordan, the poet. Unfortunately, I've never read anything by the other names on the list. I suppose some of them have written cheques.

author by apublication date Sat May 20, 2017 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the WSM.....

A march was called in Tallaght on May 6th 2017 by the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign to protest against a severe crackdown on working class resistance and the criminalisation of protest generally.

7 people face charges of false imprisonment for delaying former tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party Joan Burton for about 2 hours in a sit-down protest in November 2014, with more faces other charges. A 17-year-old has already been convicted of false imprisonment – he was 15 at the time of protest.

This shows how desperate the state and the business interests it serves are to stop people rebelling. However, it's a bit of a catch-22 situation, as if the state jails the people of Jobstown, there will surely be a popular uproar against what is widely perceived to be a grossly unfair and laughable prosecution case, but if the Jobstown protesters are acquitted this signals to the rest of Ireland that the powerful and their courts can be defeated by working class organisation and solidarity.

There were chants to end 'political policing'. While the sentiment is correct, it's important to point out that all policing is political. There is no such thing as apolitical policing. The very existence of the police is political. They are agents of the state, whose job it is to enforce the law, written by the elite, regardless of whether it is moral or immoral. Really the problem isn't 'political policing', it's the police. So the question is 'how do we move beyond the police?' The message we must make clear though is that this is nothing out of the ordinary for the state as an institution. The police exist to keep us in our place so that those at the top can have their way. Whenever the ruling class have a problem with us their police goons are ready to arrest us, evict us, stop us protesting, jail us, beat and pepperspray us, censor our press, and even torture and kill us. This is the story of the state and its police globally since states and police forces existed. The police were invented to oppress working class people and slaves, and they've been on hand across the world to do this for hundreds of years.

Two marches which began at the Square shopping centre and Tallaght Leisure Centre converged in Jobstown and marched to An Cosán, where the famous sit-down protest took place in 2014. There was a good turnout of the 'fucking dregs' - a reference to Joan Burton's assistant Karen O'Connell referring to protesters as dregs in now infamous video released recently during the trial.

A contingent from Anti Water Meter Task Force Waterford were in attendance as well as Dublin Says No. United Against Racism were also marching and a shout out was given to Ibrahim Halawa, whose family were present, an Irish citizen who has been imprisoned for over 3 years in Egypt for protesting and could face the death penalty if convicted. Also a shout out was given to Tallaght travellers who were in attendance and were congratulated for achieving long-awaited state recognition of their ethnicity (having endured decades of vicious discrimination, to this day). Also for the Bus Éireann workers, whose courage for striking was praised. Our struggles for justice are different but they are not separate.

Full text of report at http://www.wsm.ie/c/jobstown-not-guilty-march-may-2017

Caption: Video Id: L5OdtoDWXBM Type: Youtube Video
#JobstownNotGuilty Full March 6/5/17

Related Link: http://www.wsm.ie/c/jobstown-not-guilty-march-may-2017
author by anonpublication date Wed May 31, 2017 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Socialist party have written an interesting analysis of how Labour tried to use this issue.

As Jobstown stands tall- Labour is in the gutter

Also this earlier one helps connects the dots of the agenda too.

Jobstown trial: The establishment’s contempt for the working class

author by .publication date Tue Jun 13, 2017 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Herald reports today that all charges to one of the seven Jobstown accused Ken Purcell have been dropped.

author by anonpublication date Fri Jun 23, 2017 18:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More coverage of the trial on RTE today.Case is adjourned until Monday when the 11 member jury will hear the judge's charge before beginning to deliberate on a verdict.

Related Link: https://www.rte.ie/news/courts/2017/0623/885034-jobstown/
author by anonpublication date Thu Jun 29, 2017 22:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As reported on RTE news today all six have been found not guilty in the Jobstown Trial as returned by the 11 member jury with unanimous verdicts.

The seventh person was let go a few weeks back when their case was dismissed.

This was clearly a political trial but a good day for the people as the government clearly hoped it could be used to silence any further dissent in the future.

Great result.

Related Link: https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0629/886505-jobstown/
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