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An interview with Peter Preston

category national | crime and justice | news report author Wednesday October 24, 2007 14:15author by Sen Ryan Report this post to the editors

Peter commenced a thirst strike on Monday

Peter Preston went off liquids on Monday. This is day three of his thirst strike and day 29 of his hunger strike.

I recorded an interview with Peter that runs close to half an hour (Ive converted the bit rate of this audio so the quality has suffered somewhat, but its only 11MB in size) so this written report will be quite short.

Peter has a chest infection and is unsurprisingly not feeling well. The loss of his tent is taking its toll. Hes praying that it wont rain.

Mr. Preston told me that he feels that the Governments constant focus on the criminal case, resulting from the actions of a young woman whod scarred Peters daughter for life and who was ordered to pay her 3,000, will put his family in danger. Peters protest is not about the criminal case and it never was. He feels that the Government are sending out the message that he has unfinished business with the criminal who attacked his daughter and he fears that this might draw this criminal towards his family once more. Peter says that his relationship with this criminal and his want to have anything to do with her ended the same day as the criminal case.

Peter has asked to be left outside the Dil, should he collapse.

I asked Peter about Finian McGrath, I asked him was it time for Finian to put his money where his mouth is. Peter said that it was and that he hopes that Finian will withdraw from Government and withdraw his support of Fianna Fil in an act of solidarity with him.

I dont hold out much hope with regard to that happening. However, it does put Mr. McGrath in a very awkward position. Mr. McGrath in the past has informed the Dil that they should all support Peter Preston. Couple that with the fact that before Mr. McGrath succumbed to politics he was a school teacher who first hit the campaign trail on a social justice platform.

As I wound up the interview, ex-leader of the Green Party walked up to us. After a brief chat with Peter and one of his supporters, Mr. Sargent agreed to enter the Dil to see if he could garner any support for Peter.

I dont hold out much hope there either.

Day one of the hunger strike:- Starving outside the Dil - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84406

Day 22 of the hunger strike:- Blind Indifference - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84710


Interview With Peter
audio Interview With Peter 11.06 Mb

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for this, Sen.

I hope the people who have power in this country will accede to Peter's request for a public inquiry into the events surrounding his case.

People privileged with education up to University level and beyond can tackle injustices in the system through the courts or tribunals. They may not get very far but they can try. People who are friends of people with power can use influence that may be outside or contrary to law to get what they want - even when it is not just or fair that they do so.

Peter Preston readily admits that he has not the ability to tackle the legal system. He has asked for help to receive justice or dignity from the political system instead, and has met with indifference largely, apart from Finian McGrath. But even Finian-in-Government has so far been unable to have any effect.

Peter has chosen to highlight the alleged corruption of organs of the State with which he takes issue by going on hunger strike. You and I do not agree with hunger strike but what can any of us offer him in its place? He is a lone man against the system and as a tourist countrywoman said to him this morning: "We all know about the corruption that is happening in Ireland but none of us is doing anything to stop it".

I hope Peter is not pushed to the extremes in this sad chess game. He did have a robust constitution but the layers of clothes he now must wear against the cold and hunger hide the loss of weight. Every hour that passes now, his condition will become weaker.

I wonder why our elected representatives do not at least visit him daily. It would show that they cared even if they disagree with his action

Keep up your good work Sen - without your reports we would have known nothing about Peter's latest protest even though he has been outside the Dil for 29 days on hunger strike. and now on the third day of thirst strike

author by BrehonAdmirerpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 16:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could it be that Peter is merely following intuitive and powerful genetically based "instincts" which proved themselves useful for many, many generations of Irish people in centuries past?

"Achieving justice by starvation" was after all a core feature of Brehon Law.

"A slightly different form of fasting was known as 'Cealacha', which is usually translated as achieving justice by starvation. Throughout Irish history and especially during The Troubles in Northern Ireland fasting, as meant by Cealacha, was often used as a method to embarrass the authorities." (Copied from http://www.triskelle.eu/history/brehonlaw.php?index=060...0.020 )

More at http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Brehon+Law%2C+Hung...earch

Surely this desperate, but presumably genuine person, deserves to be much better listened to by our "public servants"? - before it's too late!

author by hmmmmmmpublication date Wed Oct 24, 2007 20:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice to see fresh pictures of Mr Preston. He hasn't lost his earlobes this time either I note. Useful little source of bodyfat which unique amongst the appendages of the human body continue to grow as life passes by. Leaving aside the genetic exception which was Telly Savalas (whom you might remember as playing the popular TV detective Kojak) all earlobes are hardwired to grow as long as the body is capable of ingesting fats.
Now that you've learnt at least 2 things (your earlobes are stores of fat & Telly Savalas had no earlobes) let's wonder for a moment being Irish and all that, & what with having a great tradition of fasting & political hungerstrikes - the limit on thirst fast.

Go on you know the answer.
Look in those rheumy malnourished & slightly jaundiced eyes. & yes they are unmistakenly malnourished - but they're still focussing. 3 days thirst fast - generally equals blindness. Oh well..,

I'm completely behind Peter Preston who last time around I called "Titus Andronicus" after a Shakespeare play of that name and its lead character who protests the rapine of his daughter by the court of the caesar. I don't have to think I believed everything Titus said about whichever Caesar was about at the time. I just know I like seeing malnourished grand-dads in front of parliaments. Go on! give him a badge. He is the Mr Haw of Dublin.

I suppose we won't be seeing any other more serious hungerstrikers on that pitch as long as he's there. Probably a good thing too.

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2007 09:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

January 3, 2007: Radical Party leader and European Parliamentarian Marco Pannella, also President of Hands Off Cain, completed eight days of a total hunger and thirst strike. On January 3, 2007, he discontinued the thirst strike for 24-48 hours in order to continue with the hunger strike.

I haven't heard news of MEP Pannella having lost his sight, have you, (iosaf?)?

author by jedpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Human rights for all AND a just, fair and equal society."
he's not asking for much is he?

This case has not attracted the attention of the mainstream media. If Peter dies he will
be portrayed in death as some kind of crackpot. Give it up now and try another approach.
Nothing is being gained by this hunger strike.

author by C.publication date Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would urge those that speak with Preston to ask him if he has notified his GP as to his intention
and considering the seriousness of what he is doing, I am assuming that he has left:-
1. A living will-so that his family will not have to be divining his intention.
2. A statement of intent.
3.A note of non-medical interference.

or maybe that can all be reduced to the idea of a suicide note?- afterall , a thirst strike is
a serious physiological matter and we do not act alone, as a father his responsibility
is to ensure that his family do not have to deal with the negative health repurcussions of his
activity and that he has forseen and planned all eventualities. Most people, it seems would
be unaware of his situation and his ability to communicate would lessen. Many people
who have survived what appears in this instance to be a form of suicide would point to
how survivors deal with the issue and for many it is an unpleasant experience that requires
professional counselling and supports.It is not the responsibility of the writer to interpret,
or ensure that Mr Preston has assumed responsibility for his family but to present the issue
which Sean has done admirably. However, if he has not looked after those he seeks to defend
then he is abusing the fast as a political tool for forcing change and subjecting himself and
his daughter and son(s) to unnecessary publicity- which is attention seeking at its worst.

What would anyone of us do if we publically stated that we were going to thirst strike
without leaving the necessary documentation to alleiviate the survivors from their guilt??

author by Sen Ryanpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having spoken with a very gaunt and frankly, a very ill looking Peter Preston today, I've been told that Peter has come off his thirst strike and will remain off it until next Wednesday, when the Dil resumes.

The Dil having worked very hard recently (voting Bertie a pay rise and cushy jobs for themselves) broke yesterday for a very long weekend break and will return next Wednesday.

Peter said: "I want all who have their hands on the gun to be there when whatever happens to me happens. I will return to the thirst part of my strike on Wednesday."

I believe Senator David Norris has addressed the Seanad and that he has requested that Peter's requests be looked at, rather than addressing a question that has not been raised by Peter. I will put an account of this up when I have fully confirmed this one way or the other. Thus far, it has been confirmed by another Senator - all I'm really looking for is a quote of what Senator Norris has said.

author by not a doctorpublication date Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At this point he probably cannot have water or food- and must go to a doctor to have a drip in.
If a thirst fast has happened since monday then quite honestly he will bust something and get
perontinitis if he takes anything orally like- its 'IV' Sean and btw- I would publish a disclaimer
and not get too attached, the man has said he will immolate publically, thus treat it as a grenade
from which the pin has been removed :-0
Part of me would wish him a chancer and manipulator afterall he is dragging people in
without a by-your -leave and to add to that pushing his family into the glare of publicity.

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Since coming off the thirst strike, Peter has maintained his hunger strike, sitting outside an empty Dil ireann. The long bank holiday weekend was not a pleasant one for him as he sat there in the cold, not many passing by, some rowdies wanting to cause trouble but for a faithful companion who has been keeping long watch with him, and friends calling intermittently. On Friday, there had been many positive comments from passers-by especially from Irish and overseas tourists. While I was there, Senator Ivana Bacic, Dr Rory O'Hanlon, TD and Mayo TD John O Mahony were among those who spoke to him personally, others spoke to his friends.
On Sunday, Peter got a drenching. On Monday he had developed a nasty cough. He is expecting to talk to Finian McGrath TD tomorrow and expects to be back on thirst strike on Wednesday.

Monday morning
Monday morning

author by the diggerpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Peter Preston. Another William Finnerty. As if one wasn't enough.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why don't you do some digging at the following address:

It might be better for you than launching cowardly anonymous attacks on people from behind a nom de plume?

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com
author by Justin Morahanpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 19:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Peter ended his hunger strike this evening and has gone home to his loved ones.

He has the good wishes of all decent people with him.

author by iosafpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 23:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

By calling you/him "titus andronicus" I never meant to mock you/him, & hope someday you read all our words on indymedia about your struggle & the 2 instances It brought you to the most desperate of protest actions on Kildare street. Of course then I hope you get to read or watch the play which you reminded me so much of. That hero Titus who defended his family against the wrongs of an established order by bringing their silent shames & silenced claims to the street despite the ridicule of the horde.
Be strong Mr Preston
we'll hear from you again no doubt - Titus too grew weary, but all the time others had read his letters & heard his night time calls & it works out in the end. You live to see the end Mr Preston.

author by WTF?????publication date Mon Nov 12, 2007 01:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So he just gave up and went home?? What happened to being left outside the Dail if he collapsed?
He's like Moe from the Simpsons.

author by Sen Ryanpublication date Mon Nov 12, 2007 02:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Should go away. Should stay.

This man's story is far from finished. I'd suggest that the trolls not burn themselves out in the meantime.

author by Dermot Laceypublication date Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am one of the people who spoke with Peter over the course of the last few months. I was someone who wished him well and hoped for the best for him. I was not able to help him as we seemed to have very different views of what could or should be done.

I do hope that those whom he does trust will now give him good advice and that he can live a happy and healthy life again.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Tue Nov 13, 2007 01:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I only heard yesterday that Peter has finished his hunger strike. All good thinking people I'm sure, hope he makes a full recovery and he can regain some of his personal life and if he wants in the future....redirect his anger and stand in another way at the 'system'.

As for living a long, healthy and happy life, it goes without saying we wish that for him . But, I can't help it DL, but let's hope it is free from any more stealth taxes, such as bin charges. Your ex-highness.

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