Independent Media Centre Ireland

'Good German' and Shannon Airport 'Police' Inspector Impersonates A Garda Síochana

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Wednesday April 13, 2005 20:47author by Tim Houriganauthor phone 087-9777703

Airport Police Try To Seize Camera Containing Evidence Of Same At Shannon

While planespotting OUTSIDE Shannon Warport in broad daylight last Sunday, some planespotters found themselves on the receiving end of a fit of madness from one of the APOs who decided somehow that he had jurisdiction outside his patch.

airport police inspector Hogan and planespotter HouriganBesides manhandling a young lady and her camera, Airport Police Inspector Mike Hogan tried to pass himself off as a member of An Garda Siochana, which is a criminal offence.

Following the EYFA Anti-War Conference in Co Clare last week, some of the participating peaceniks held a vigil in Ennis, where they distributed leaflets and food to the fine people of the banner county.

We informed the locals that there has been a huge increase in troop movements through Shannon. (95,584 in the first three months of 2005 alone. There has also been more frequent sightings of C-130s and US Navy logistic flights at Ireland's de facto warport.)

Over a hundred leaflets were handed out to the public, who also appreciated the free food.

Afterwards, 7 of us went to Shannon to check up on our local US military airstrip. As usual we went to the industrial estate bordering the airport, rather than into the airport itself.

a little Eichmann?We weren’t there very long when two members of the airport police turned up.

I looked down from my viewing point to see a uniformed Airport Police inspector in a tussle with a lady half his size who was trying to stand her ground and keep her video camera.

I strolled down to see what this guy was up to. The Airport Police vehicle had come to a halt in the middle of the road at a corner next to the PIE warehouse.

As I approached, I could hear the camera crew telling the tall man-in-black that they were in a public place, and acting within the law. The APO Inspector simply told us to get in our vehicles and clear out.

(He took a very macho and aggressive attitude considering that he had no jurisdiction and that we were perfectly entitled to stay watching or filming for as long as we wanted. )

I asked him who he was and he said he was an authorised officer. I could see from his I.D. that he was Airport Police Inspector Michael B Hogan. (I recalled meeting him before where he had taken an equally irrational position)

I told him that he had no jurisdiction outside the airport as he was not a Garda.

How do you know I’m not a garda?!” he snapped back at me.

You’re wearing an airport police inspectors uniform” I replied.

At that point I warned him that it was a serious offence to impersonate a Garda and that he should not pass himself off as a member of An Garda Siochana.

(We have this on tape, and he knew we were taping it, that’s probably why he was engaged in a tug of war with the camerawoman – so the tape would be admissible in evidence should the DPP choose to prosecute this man)

Rather than admit that he was not a Garda, this man kept up the pretence. “I am an authorised officer” he said.

Yes, under the Air Transport and Navigation Acts” I replied, “ that gives you jurisdiction inside the airport. We are not IN the airport.

He then tried to persuade me that we were, in fact, inside the airport boundary.

After a microsecond of utter disbelief, I had to correct his logic, and pointed out that the map in Aer Rianta’s 2003 injunction clearly marked the aerodrome boundary (being the rather obvious fence in this instance)

I am an authorised officer” he repeated.

Yes, you’ve said that already, but I’ve read the Air Transport Navigation Act. I know what it says” I replied.

He made another grab for the video camera, almost knocking over the camera woman and nearly breaking off the side screen. I restrained him and warned him that what he had committed was an assault and that his behaviour was a breach of the peace.

At that point he backed off and went towards his car. I told him we weren’t impressed with Airport Policemen trying to bluff that they were cops or had powers that they did not.

An airport police jeep came up behind us at this point, and the camera woman looked quite stressed so we made preparations to go.

We each went to our own cars, and headed out of the industrial estate, as we did so quite a few cop cars started appearing as well as a Garda transit van (with more than a couple of Gardai inside).

A checkpoint was quickly established right in front of us, just 20 yards beyond a roundabout, and, (surprise, surprise) the only two cars pulled over were part of our plane-spotting group.

After producing her license, and promising to produce a copy of her insurance policy within ten days, our driver was allowed to proceed.

The checkpoint evaporated as quickly as it had been set up.

The camera crew, who had parked further away, simply walked past the checkpoint.

Even from here I can hear you ask “Where were all these Gardai 5 minutes earlier when Mike Hogan was throwing his weight around?” … good question.

Other Recent Indymedia Ireland Features And Articles On Shannon Warport
Airport Police move swiftly to suppress evidence. Is there a "torture jet" behind that warplane?
Activists Lodge Complaint About Guantanamo Bay Express
CIA Torture Jet Sold In Attempted Cover Up

Airport Police Car
Airport Police Car

Inspector Hogan sees Tim coming
Inspector Hogan sees Tim coming

Don't mention the war
Don't mention the war

Comments (35 of 35)

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author by Fenchurchpublication date Wed Apr 13, 2005 19:32author address author phone

you can bet that they would have erased the tape too. acting very much like men with something to hide.

author by A10publication date Wed Apr 13, 2005 23:32author address author phone

You would have been perfectly entitled to under a civillian arrest for;
assault,attempted assualt,impersonating a police officer,[proably not,but it have been funny for the gardai].
or is that a little bit too warlike to do some "direct action"??

author by Edward Horganpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 00:31author address author phone

Well done to you Tim and your friends.
Very reluctantly, I feel it is now time to resume legal action to defend civil liberties in Ireland and more specifically at Shannon. It would appear that the acts of suporting the continuous unlawful activity of US troops and munitions passing through Shannon has given both the airport security and the Gardai a false sense of impunity.
I wish someone else would take this matter on for a change, but is seems it will be left to the unchosen few.
yours in peace

Related links;;;

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author by down at the wirepublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 00:39author address author phone

A 10 wants to know why Tim did not arrest the airport policeman for his unlawful behaviour? What about you, you, you,
you can come too, too, too,
to Shannon and do your bit for civil liberties any day now, now, now.
Don't look at us. Look in the mirror.
"if not I, who? If not now, when?"

author by sleepwalkerpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 09:55author address author phone

not at any point in your conversation did the man say he was a member of an gardai. you should really get a grip of the distinctly twisted form of the truth this website regularly takes it in its stories.

another silly incident at shannon that does your cause no good at all and yet another example of certain members of the left wing movement making us all look like idiots by crying over an incident that genuinley only sounds amusing to someone sitting on the sidelines

author by Garda Patrolpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:19author address author phone

You don't have to SAY you're a Garda, you just have to be trying to pass yourself off as one.

Obviously the Aiport Police are trying to claim more powers to justify their camera snatching, so they can destroy the evidence.
Bertie's statement that the 'debate is over' has obviously filtered down as 'don't let anyone put Shannon back in the spotlight'

author by Justin Morahan - Peace Peoplepublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:41author address author phone

Mr Hogan usurped the powers of the Gárdaí and abused them outside his own area of jurisdiction - that is what I glean from the report.
It mentions that he twice tried to confiscate private property and nearly knocked over a woman, half his size, - this outside of the Airport boundaries.
He used the line: "How do you know that I'm not a Garda?" - implying that there was a possibility he might very well be one. This, combined with his action of attempting to remove people, confiscate their property and generally throw his weight around in an Industrial estate would give me the impression that he was hoping to be thought of as a Garda.
I see nothing silly in the report apart from the fact that Mr Hogan was acting either like a Garda or a bouncer who had strayed beyond his patch, and who was abusing the power that either a Garda or a bouncer would normally have. This is silly behaviour on the part of Mr Hogan.
What a shame that an airport police Inspector is more concerned with people outside the Airport lawfully monitoring the sinister happenings within, than he is about the dangers to passengers caused by the passage of 96,000 troops, ammunition and God knows what else on their way to war through this civilian airport. And all of this in the last three months!
Sleepwalker, you do not give me the impression that you are from a left wing movement "made to look like an idiot" by the above report.
More likely an excusing voice for Mr Hogan. The pretence doesn't wash.
Well done yet again, Tim and crew

author by Timpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:54author address author phone

Why not arrest the APO?

Firstly, we’re not interested in wasting time and energy dealing with the airport police. We went there to monitor the airport, not to get distracted by goons and their petty games. We only interact with them when we need to.

We couldn’t be sure that if we made a complaint on the spot, that the cops wouldn’t just seize the tape and accidentally erase it. The smarter move is to make a copy of it first. If the camerawoman decides to make a complaint in the near future, she can do it knowing that she still has a back up copy of the evidence.

author by Anthonypublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 17:17author address author phone

From reading past reports of plane-spotting at Shannon and previous personal experience, some members of the Airport Police come across as nasty individuals.

As others pointed out, you don't have to actually state that you're a Garda to be impersonating one. You can just wear a uniform similar to a Garda's, drive a car with similar markings and just simply act as if you have the authority to coerce members of the public into following your orders.

These people know that most people dislike conflict situations and that many people will back down when confronted with bullying - particularly from someone in a uniform. Continually stating "I am an authorised officer” while giving orders in an aggressive manner would intimidate many citizens who are less confident in their knowledge of the law and the boundaries of legal jurisdiction. It's interesting to note that after failing to verbally impress his "authority" on the group that the officer again resorts to physically grabbing the camera - putting the personal safety of the camera woman (and her expensive video camera) at risk.

Most people would feel it well within their rights to defend themselves against strangers approaching them in a public place and trying to grab their possessions from them. Such behaviour is considered to be assault whether it's a cash-strapped junkie on an urban street or whether it's an Airport Police Officer just outside his workplace. If they wanted to, the plane-spotters would be well within their rights to report this to the gardaí. Personally, I doubt it would accomplish much as from what I've seen over the past two years in Shannon, there seems to be an unspoken agreement between the AP and the Gardaí to harass and interfere with plane-spotting activity while at the same time - and much more seriously - to turn a blind eye to what the US military are bringing through the airport.

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 18:16author address author phone

QUOTE: "He then tried to persuade me that we were, in fact, inside the airport boundary.

After a microsecond of utter disbelief, I had to correct his logic, and pointed out that the map in Aer Rianta’s 2003 injunction clearly marked the aerodrome boundary (being the rather obvious fence in this instance)"

RESPONSE: I think you're being to kind to this criminal in your interpretation. He's trying to establish an alibi for himself in case this does go to court "Oh, but I thought we were inside the boundary yer honor"

Whatever the biggest anti-war movement with the biggest war chest is at the moment they should be falling over themselves to fund prosecution for this case.

author by Europhilepublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 20:20author address author phone

If the energy, reources, personel are not available to maintain a peace camp at this most significant cog in the U.S war machine invading Iraq - why not open it up to the Europeon peace movement.

How about a call for peace camps to be established at Shannon and Sigonella in Sicily - the Europeon gateways to Iraq for the U.S invasion of Iraq?????

A peace camp was established yesterday at the Brize Norton base where British forces depart for Iraq.

author by Alpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 21:31author address author phone

You would not have had grounds for a citizens arrest under these circumstances. Citizens arrests are not, despite popular belief, actually legal in Ireland. There are clearly defined situations where a citizen can take action. This would not be one of them.
In relation to the incident itself, I dont condone such actions and certainly not an airport cop taking such action however please try to remember that these people are in a situation of conflict with yourselves not out of choice but as a result of orders given. Im sure most of these guys are decent lads just trying to pay the bills like the rest of us.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 21:58author address author phone

Can't arrest someone for impersonation?

I don't follow your comment Al. You say that citizen's arrests aren't "legal". What does that mean?

Then you say that there are circumstances under which a citizen may "take action". What does that mean? Does it mean that I can forcibly restrain some old codger in a commissionaire's uniform when he physically assaults someone beside me?

author by solo head begpublication date Thu Apr 14, 2005 22:59author address author phone

Some of ye may not have studied yeer history that well. But the last time there was an illegal army of occupation in the Free Shtate, it took more than a few citizen's arrests to get rid of them.

Ye can pussyfoot around with that kind of shite if ye like but by Jaysus the Iraqis are the boys that'll show ye how it's done .......

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author by Alpublication date Fri Apr 15, 2005 02:15author address author phone

What I mean is that there is no official 'citizens arrest' as there is in America or England. You may take action if it is to stop a more serious offence. For example, if a guy attacks someone with a knife and tries to stab them then you can restrain him or even hit him because that would be a lesser assault than what you are preventing. how did he assault her? Was she injured? Did he actually strike her? Remember the offence you are preventing must be of a serious nature and greater risk than your actions. Of course everyone has the right to protect themselves and their property but you werent in danger and it wasnt your property.
From my readin of what happened I think its a case of shouting 'wolf'. The word 'assault' is shouted far to often in this country and if people had blanket approval to use force then it would (and does) lead to vigilantes.
As was pointed out he is not a Garda, either are you.

author by bee boppublication date Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:55author address author phone

---From my readin of what happened I think its a case of shouting 'wolf'.

---From my readin

Well, you can read it anyway you like Al, but you didn't see it.

author by Michaelpublication date Fri Apr 15, 2005 13:12author address author phone

The closest to the citizens arrest on the Irish statute books is found in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. You can do to someone what otherwise might be an assault if: (a) You're assisting an arrest by a Garda, or (b) the necessity defence stuff Al has already described. The idea is, I guess, that someone running through a shopping centre with a cop a few metres behind can be tackled if the cop's say "stop that man!" or something. Regarding the necessity defence -- it doesn't say anywhere in the law in Ireland that your actions must be proportionate to the actions you're trying to avert. That used to be the idea in the Common Law defence, but it was abolished by the 1997 Act. It just has to be "reasonable" under the circumstances as you perceived them to be. That's very subjective really.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Fri Apr 15, 2005 18:00author address author phone

Does anyone else find the citing of the "necessity defence" in relation to this occurence at Shannon ironic? After all it's exactly what the Pitstop Ploughshares, Mary Kelly, Eoin Dubsky and the Fence Pullers were citing.

author by Darraghpublication date Fri Apr 15, 2005 20:06author address author phone

Could someone post a copy of the video up?

author by kavakava - nonepublication date Sat Apr 16, 2005 01:24author email n379p at gmail dot comauthor address author phone

An aside from the very obvious and suspect use of Shannon.....but, a detail that reveals how far our government will go to facilitate the US. The authority in Shannon has now built a 'SMOKING SHED' for the use of US military folk. It's up and running and begs manys the it legal? and why are they allowed to smoke in an airport when everytime i fly I have to have my last BEFORE i enter the terminal.......

author by Alpublication date Sat Apr 16, 2005 13:15author address author phone

In addition to A and B by Michael there also an allowance for C, If you believe the person that you have seen commiting an offence is or is likely to escape or avoid capture you can detain them on the grounds that you hand them to the Gardai at the earliest reasonable opportunity. However remember you MUST SEE THEM commit the offence and the offence must be INDICTABLE. Thats not littering or parking on double yellow lines.

author by Michaelpublication date Sat Apr 16, 2005 13:44author address author phone

Is this smoking shed story true? Has the Minister for the Environment heard about it? He stood up to the rogue smoking publicans in Galway... Surely he'll do the same in the face of such lawlessness from Aer Rianta (who as it happens are also involved in gunrunning, kidnap-trafficing, and other high crimes).

author by kavakava - nonepublication date Sat Apr 16, 2005 13:55author address author phone

Well, it's there, most definitely and positively. I'm not making this up and I'm sure others know about it also. Seems the troops had been making noise about not being able to have a smoke before heading out to eyeraq and nipping out of the terminal wasn't an option...though sometimes.........and it's plexiglass.

author by Alpublication date Sun Apr 17, 2005 16:19author address author phone

When you say its a smoking shed what exactly does it look like? 4 walls, roof, doors, etc. Is it fully enclosed?

author by kavakava - nonepublication date Sun Apr 17, 2005 17:56author address author phone

To be honest I have not seen it yet - but will very soon, as I understasnd it's in the 'vicinity' of gate 1 and is enclosed bar the roof, standard plexiglass type thingy. Will advise.

author by sleepwalkerpublication date Sun Apr 17, 2005 18:50author address author phone

from what i read i still dont think he was attempting to pass himself off as a garda what he was trying to do though was intimidate you into leaving which in fairness to the chap is his job. i use to work in security myself and i have to say if i saw somebody standing there videotaping a facility which could be deemed sensitive to a serious breach of security i would be doing my best to get them to stop what they are doing aswell

mountain out of a mole hill is basically what this is but i presume since you have this supposed offence captured on video you will be making a statement to the gardai about what occured ?

author by kavakava - nonepublication date Mon Apr 18, 2005 00:36author address author phone

shed is like a rather large conservatory - with green fittings instead of the standard white etc. it's located directly in front of stands 26b/27 to the left of the ex burren bar. anyone dep/arr via flybe/ryanair/easyjet can see it so roof/ceiling on it.

author by Alpublication date Mon Apr 18, 2005 18:42author address author phone

If there is no roof on it then its not an enclosed area and therefore not against the law to smoke inside. You may agree with it or disagree but no law is being broken. You can see similar in a lot of bars now and more are popping up all the time.

author by Cathalpublication date Wed Apr 20, 2005 18:10author address author phone

"if i saw somebody standing there videotaping a facility which could be deemed sensitive to a serious breach of security i would be doing my best to get them to stop what they are doing aswel"

Except Shannon is not deemed to be sensitive. Nor is it a breach of security to film planes there from a public space. Add to that the fact that the "authorised officer" is regulated by law and has no authority outside of the aerodrome and you get fun!

I think more would need to be known about what the Airport Police guy did as regards attempting to pass himself off as a Garda but he could have been violating 53.1.B of the Garda Sióchána Act 2004.

author by barrypublication date Wed Apr 20, 2005 18:30author address author phone

If that guy was from Rialto and he did that to someone in Moore street hed go straight to the joy. Threatening, aggressive behaviour to an innocent person is also a breach of public order.
Put it this way, if hed been photographing the anti-war people , and they tried to take his camera theyd most definitely be in jail. Those people had every right to just chin the bastard, he was trying to steal their private belongings.

Hes a jumped up traffic warden, in fact a traffic warden has more powers on the public road than that bollix.

Give some people a big hat and they think theyre john wayne.

author by sleepwalkerpublication date Fri Apr 22, 2005 13:05author address author phone

its an airport that has foreign military going through it everyday and every airport is handled as being senstive to security breaches since 9/11

videotaping premises can lead to all sorts of conclusions about security officers routines and the general level of security

he was doing his job and he mishandled the situation but how this ridiculous incident warrants the smearing of a mans name all over a website does not make sense to me. if you are going to put this incident up on a public website then the issue should be reported to the police.

author by Cathalpublication date Sat Apr 23, 2005 16:26author address author phone

"its an airport that has foreign military going through it everyday and every airport is handled as being senstive to security breaches since 9/11"

Airports have always been viewed as sensitive to security breaches. This, however, does not justify Shannon being viewed as particularily sensitive or worthy of extra-ordinary measures.

"videotaping premises can lead to all sorts of conclusions about security officers routines and the general level of security"

And? So can watching the Gardaí come in and out ofa station/barracks but the whole point is what they were doing was not and is not illegal. The guy was NOT doing his job, he was going beyond his legal powers that were conferred by the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1988, which I would be happy to quote to you if you wish.

author by barrypublication date Sat Apr 23, 2005 22:12author address author phone

if he though there was a threat to national security why didnt he just ring the guards. If they were international terrorists , or even armed robbers theyd have just shot the fecker.

And id bet he knows that too.

author by redjadepublication date Sun May 01, 2005 12:53author address author phone

Reporter: Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents who brought terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? And would you stand for it if foreign agents did that to an American here?

Bush: That's a hypothetical, Mark. We operate within the law and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people.

more from transcript and commentary at

author by nimrodpublication date Fri Aug 05, 2005 04:48author address author phone

i work in security and as the law stands citizens can arrest someone if the crime carries a sentence of 5 years or more.this is what i was told in training and they gave us a copy of the act in our training should check it out the law!

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