Independent Media Centre Ireland

At the Peace House

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday June 28, 2004 19:23author by Fiona - MAMA

Gardai search Peace House

Banner is removed during night by persons unknown,and gardai search Peace House on friday afternoon

In the early hours of Friday morning, 25th.June, a large black banner with white lettering which read
CEAD Mile ( this line in Gaelic script)
was securely hung from the Peace House windows. It should be pointed out that the Peace House is located on the fifth floor of a block of flats. The gardai wandering around Liedl carpark and in the parking lot of the flats which is private property were none too pleasd with the sign, it being high and very visible in Shannon town centre. By 6.00 a.m. the banner had disappeared.
So much for article 40, section 6, of our constitution guaranteeing the right of the citizen to express freely their convictions and opinions. The use of asterisks on the banner clearly indicated that it could not have been interpreted as blasphemous, seditious or indecent.
At around 3.00 p.m. on Friday afternoon Deborah Bermingham and myself were in the peace house sitting room when five plain clothes men came into the room.
Entrance to the flat is through electronic code pad on the front door, up four flights of stairs, and then a normal front door key is needed. They never even knocked. They had a search warrant, correctly dated, of course. I asked them to go back to the front door and at least afford us the courtesy of knocking at the door but they, of course, refused. I had to ask them to read out the warrant as the top section detailing the powers under which the search was being conducted was so poorly photocopied as to be barely legible. They refused to give us a copy of the warrant and would not allow it out of their hands as I was not the named tenant of the flat.
Some of them donned those light blue plastic gloves to conduct the search. It being an important day for them with the arrival of their lord and master George W. Bush, they were all dressed up in their best clobber. I suspect they were trying to rival their American counterparts. It doesn't wash lads; you still looked like the Irish Special Branch. Although, in fairness, some of them had left off the brown shiny shoes for the day.
In the meantime Conor had returned.They went through all of his personal papers and searched through our bags.
I'm not sure what they expected to find. Nothing major evidently, as they didn't bring boxes or bags to remove anything.
It's just as well that we hadn't got a rocket hidden under the shower tray, like the one hidden beneath the bath in Donegal, as they never even looked in the bathroom. They were not at all anxious to identify themselves so it was just as well that they were all familiar faces, from days in court and years of general vexatious behaviour towards peace activists in the Shannon area.
For me the most galling part of the visit was when on departure they said 'God Bless'. I questioned their right to invoke the name of God when they were complicit in facilitating the murder of thousands of Iraqis, through their failure to search American military planes in Shannon

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