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The Real Nature of the Security around Shannon

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday June 28, 2004 00:39author by Dominic Haugh - SP Report this post to the editors

How effective was it and what was its purpose

For weeks before the Bush visit the government and the mdia were going on about the need for extensive security for the Bush visit. The threat to the US President was real and had to be dealt with accordingly. Those in the anti-war movement argued that the security operation had more to do with preventing peaceful protest than anything else. I am outlining some of my experience of the security around Shannon

In the weeks preceeding the Bush visit the Gardai visited every house in Shannon taking details of occupants, car details and possible visitors over the weekend. This was necessary we were told for security and the residents of Shannon would be issued a pass to get in and out of the town. Instead of these passes being issued to each resident, people had to queue sometimes for up to half an hour or more outside the Garda station to collect passes. Many people queued and were then told they didn't need a pass because they had no car. Scorpion tanks were deployed as if Al Qa'ida were intending to launch a ground offensive

I drove in and out of Shannon 14 times last Friday and 8 times on Saturday. At different times I drove in two different cars, neither of which displayed the necessary pass. I was never stopped.

On Saturday I attended the demo at Dromoland. Traffic from Limerick was being diverted through Sixmilebridge, Kilmurray and Quin to Clarecastle. However on Saturday morning the road from Kilmurray to Quin was blocked off, forcing people to drive approx an extra 10 miles to Tulla and back through Ennis to get to the Demo. On arriving at Clarecastle we were stopped at a Garda checkpoint and refused access up the road to the assembly point even though this had previously been agreed with the Gardai. When I dared to phone Supt. Kerins to ask him why we were not being allowed access to the assembly point I was threatened with arrest by the Garda sargent on the checkpoint. We then had to go back into Clarecastle park and walk the 4 miles to the demo. Many people with young children and many elderly people were also in this situation and had to turn back without reaching the demo because of the distance.

After the demo finished near Dromoland I drove back through Quin. However I did not feel like making another 25 mile round trip so in Quin I turned down the Newmarket-on-Fergus road. At a Garda Checkpoint the conversation went something like this:

Garda "Where are you going?"
Me "Minister's Cross"
Garda "Where's that?"
Me "a couple of miles the far side of Newmarket"
Garda " Go on so"

I then proceeded to drive down the four miles of road,along the back of the Dromoland estate passed 4 other Garda checkpoints without being stopped and came back out onto the main road approx. 200 yards from the entrance to Dromoland.

Isn't it interesting that the only time I was stopped the entire weekend was when trying to get to the demo at Clarecastle two miles away from where when were supposed to be allowed assemble.

I will let people draw their own conclusions as to what the purpose of the security operation was.

author by Alpublication date Tue Sep 07, 2004 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Im talking about all the anti Gardai comments on this board. I believe we have been called neo-nazis and stormtroopers to name a few. Thats without quoting plain and simple words like scumbags

author by Peacenikpublication date Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What are you on about, Al? How many gardai were massacred by the anti-war crowd?

author by Alpublication date Mon Aug 23, 2004 01:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bush arrived by plane at Shannon ,was flown by helicopter to the castle/ hotel ,got flown back to the airport a day later then flew back out again. So ,what did they need to be blocking off any of the roads for?

Maybe because your wrong? He went by car, trust me I was there.
By the way, the overtime pay didnt make up for the fact that it rained, was cold and I was dragged away from my family.
You all think your so important, get this into your heads, we dont car about you. You are nothing to us, there is no conspiracy, as far as we are concerned your idiots with nothing better to do.

Out of curiousity, so you feel the same way about the Gardai that have lost their lives in the line of duty? Why dont you tell their families how you feel?

author by PKpublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 22:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here's what Haugh had to contribute on the day of the protest. This article was published in the Clare Champion on Friday 25th June:

SHANNON RESIDENTS TO HOLD OWN PROTEST

A Shannon-based group, opposed to the visit of George Bush to Shannon will protest against the visit of the US leader at 7pm on Friday June 25. The protest will assemble in the town centre carpark opposite Xtra-vision.

However, the group have sought to distance themselves from other demonstrations due to be held in the town and at Dromoland on Friday and Saturday.

“There may be other groups protesting in Shannon on Friday evening but we would encourage the people of Shannon to participate in the protest being organised by residents. This protest will be separate and distinct from any other that may be taking place. We have found this necessary as a result of the lack of co-operation we have received from the other groups wishing to protest,” spokesperson Dominic Haugh pointed out.

At the public meeting an organising committee was established. Subsequently the group decided not to affiliate to any of the national anti-war groups or to participate in any of the proposed protests in Shannon on Friday evening in recognition of the fact that many Shannon residents were unhappy with the way these protests were organised in the past. According to the committee the protest by Shannon residents will be a peaceful protest organised and stewarded by residents of Shannon. Discussions have been held with the Gardai in order to ensure the safety and security of those wishing to protest. The Gardai have acknowledged the right of residents of Shannon to assemble and protest against the visit of George Bush.

END

author by Well Known to the Force - raided on friday eveningpublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The last comment hit the nail right on the head. Mr Haugh also used the steering committee of the Shannon residents against Bush to organise a meeting between the I.A.W.M/S.W.P. and the Gardai to stiffle as much protest as possible.

He tried to separate the people of Shannon from the Ambush protest on Friday night. He tried to organise the people of Shannon to meet away from Lidl carpark but thankfully the people of Shannon saw right through him.

The word around town is that he is not to be trusted

author by Danny P. O'Bpublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dominc Haugh should subject his own hysterical reaction to the garda operation to a bit of analysis. The gards succeeded in putting the woolies up him and he spent riduclous amounts of energy repeating their nonsense threats. Mr Haugh should take some responsibility for the small numbers.

author by tompublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 15:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bush arrived by plane at Shannon ,was flown by helicopter to the castle/ hotel ,got flown back to the airport a day later then flew back out again. So ,what did they need to be blocking off any of the roads for? I know ,from the state's standpoint , they wanted to hassle the demonstrators as much as they could ; they also wanted to get paid a lot of overtime and put on a good show for Bush . But don't they have to justify all the expense to somebody ?
Regarding the castle/hotel : I read an interview with the manager about what lovely people the Bushes are . It was sick enough that Bush came here in the first place , but this person , by actually coming out and trying to put in a good word for the war criminal ,is adding insult to injury . You'd think he would have just kept quiet and hoped people would forget about Castle Dromoland . People should contact the hotel /castle . They should ask to speak to the manager and ask him why he was harbouring a known war criminal in his castle/hotel.

author by publopublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i enjoyed quite the humourous banter with a few cops on saturday when the ambush demo was stopped on the motorway to dromoland by the paddy wagons and riot cop lines etc. Theyd blcoked off the road, from the top of the embankment to the hedge on the other side of the dual mcarriageway.

However, parallel to the dual carriageway and with only a fence seperating them was another road, possibly the primary route prior to teh celtic tiger mcmotorway. I hoped over the fence and one or two heads joiuned me and soon the cops decided to hop over as well and block the road.
so while the motorway was blocked the road paraalel to it was wide open and traffic was continuing to move! I laughed at the cops at such a bunling craggy island "security" op, and they concurred that it was a bit of an embaraassing fuckup, but again they were sent only where they'r eorders had told them.

So all that hype, tension riot cops black hawks etc and they forgot the most bleedin obvious road to block off.

IT WAS A STUNT - the cops the state the media simply want hype to scare people off and act hard. there were several other cock ups that it may be useful to keep mum about but anyway what a laugh going through the industrial estate. Armed soldiers riot cops leggin it about and sardines in tanks. You cant beat a good demo with a heavy truncheon. Salute to those arrested.

author by until it sleepspublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 01:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I remember a huge security operation when Clinton visited too, although there were no big protests. Oddly, not everything the US and Irish govt does is directed against you.

author by pcpublication date Mon Jun 28, 2004 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i jsut saw a clip on skynews "irish ver", where they had a army guy on a cherry picker checking whether the welds on top of a poll supporting a motorway sign were true incase anything was hidden in it...( a few days before the events?

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