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Leafleting Ban?

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday May 26, 2005 15:10author by Kieran O'Sullivan - IAWMauthor email kieran.osullivan at ireland dot com Report this post to the editors

Is there a leafleting bin in dublin?

Anti War Activist prevented from handing out leaflets on Grafton St

On Saturday 21st May I was handing out leaflets on Grafton St to advertise a meeting organised by the Irish Anti-War Movement. I was approached by the litter warden and asked to stop handing out leaflets, on the pretext that they were being thrown on the ground by people although I did not see any on the ground.

Given that they were political leaflets and not commercial I pointed out that I had a right to organise political meetings. I also pointed out that the litter warden was not prosecuting any of the fast food outlets on Grafton St for the amount of litter that they were generating. At this point the litter warden said that he was going to get the guards involved.

The guards arrived about five minutes later and confiscated the leaflets. They told me that if I wanted them back. I would have to go to Pearse St Garda station and collect them. I was told that if I didn’t stop handing out the leaflets I would be arrested, no other reason was given as to why I couldn’t hand out the leaflets.

This event is not an isolated incident over the past two years Anti-War activists have been subject to this type of harassment.

1 Posters advertising meetings and protests have been torn down.

2 The stop Bush campaign registered as a group with a third party interest in the local elections last year. We had the support of the Greens, Sinn Fein, Labour, Socialist and Socialist Workers party. Dublin city council still ripped down our posters.

3 The BCI banned radio advertisements for a Gig leading up to the Bush protests in June last year because they said that it was political. Which is strange because our posters were ripped down because they were not political.

I have written to The ICCL and to all 53 cllrs complaining abou this. If anyone has similar experiences could you mail me on

author by Bettypublication date Thu May 26, 2005 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Our resident 'boy in blue' should be along to give an answer. He's a helpful Peace Officer.
And yes you can call him Al.

"There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations"

author by Alpublication date Thu May 26, 2005 17:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors


U must think u are so smart but wait until u need us and then u will be wimpering like a kitten for help

u make me sick

author by Curiouspublication date Thu May 26, 2005 17:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Come on now Al, why shouldn't a person be allowed to communicate their political views on the street. Isn't that where democracy came from?

What is so wrong with handing out leaflets?

What would you have done in the situation? Wouldn't you ask the litter warden if he had better things to do (and tell him you definitely had)?

Isn't this petty interference with perfectly normal political activity what gets the boys in blue a bad name with the young and politically committed?

Living up to your stereotype there.

author by Terrypublication date Fri May 27, 2005 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As far as I am aware there is NO ban on handing out (political) leaflets and if there then we would know they we truly are a banna republic, although we are well on the way

Last year, the Galway City Council tried to impose a ban on leaflets and other such civic activities. I think what happened is that a ban on commerical leaflets may have been implemented, but that political leaflets were allowed. The exception and I hate that word in this context, was not due to the wisdom of the council but due to the vigorous opposition to the ban.

In Dublin a ban on posters was imposed. This was introduced on the pretext of solving a litter problem, and the extra powers in the (very unenvironmental and undemocratic) Environmental Act 2003 were used to bring in this.

They may have been something added into this for banning commerical related leaflets.

Both the Galway attempted ban and the Dublin poster ban are clear political attempts to stiffle people's right to freedom of speech. It's is nothing to do with litter despite the blabbering by those who attempt to take away our rights.

The people should have rights of free association and free speech automatically. It is not up to the State to decide it has the powers to grant and take away these rights whenever it feels like it. At the moment, it is afraid of the recent upsurge in voices being raised by numerous problems in our society and in particular the opposition to the war.

It therefore has decided to take it upon itself to take away rights from us, but in true Orwellian double-speak, it pretends they are for other reasons -i.e litter. If the government were that concerned about the environment, we wouldn't have the waste crisis, nor would those who create all the toxic dumps around Wicklow and the rest of the country got off the hook so easily.

During the bin tax campaign, there were efforts to stop people handing out leaflets and posters were torn down, even before the poster ban came into operation. Regardless of this the poster ban is completely undemocratic.

Now I know Al is going to come on here and say, Guards don't make the laws, they just enforce them, but it is funny the way the political system and the agents of the will of the State -ie. the police act in certains times or over certain issues. And recall here the State is serving the elite and maintains, has maintained and always maintains both here and everywhere else, the status quo. So it is very frequent that one notices that if I were dropping litter not a lot happens, if I dump toxic waste, not much happens, but should I accidently drop some of my say bin tax or anti-war leaflets or any other politically related literature, the tendency is that the Guards will decide to act in that case..

If I was handlng out leaflets for some Pizza outfit, they might be all over the ground in the surrounding area. The most that will happen if at all, is that I will be asked to stop. The leaflets will not be confiscated, but for say anti-war stuff, my leaflets as cited in the case above, get confisicated.

This government was frightened by the massive turnout to the Feb 15th march in 2003 and the scale of the reaction against the bin tax. It is imperative to them to choke off any grassroots activity at birth and that starts with leaflets and posters. This is why this is happening.

Democray is supposed to be all about the people in society running that society. Free speech and association is an integral part of that. If you don't have free speech, then it follows you don't have a proper functioning democracy despite what anyone else might say otherwise.

author by jeffpublication date Fri May 27, 2005 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Write to your TD.

Get a signed affidavit from the Gardai, ombudsmen, etc, stating your rights.Use your thinking cap. Get in touch with those unions that were against the war.

It is your right to hand out leaflets, and so you should go through the correct channels when pursuing this, those channels.

It is possible you met Gardai that a) didn't agree with you or b) you rubbed up the wrong way. I don't know, but keep a cool head. Individual Gardai often move people off the street. They are not solicitors, they have only a basic grasp of the law. I've seen them move anti abortion people on some years ago, and they have been in scuffles with youth defence.I've seen them prevet bible bashers from giving speeches on Shop Street in Galway

Thus, if the Gardai have a conservative agenda, why would they pick on youth defence?Why would tthey prevent tthe good word of the Lawd being sread? Has the Devil possessed them? Hardly.

To me, it seems that individual Gardai will interperet any situation, from buskers to mimers to people as yourself as 'loiterers'. When in discussion with a Gard always remain calm and respectful, even if he is coming across all mean like a drunken redneck.Some of them will be like that some not. Smile, nod, affect an air of 'understanding'.

I reckon thats what our Youth Defence and Bible preaching friends have done-they are still there, as are Socialist Worker, IPSC,etc.

So get on your bike, Mister!

author by Alpublication date Fri May 27, 2005 16:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hang on a second, this is the first time I have entered this thread. the poster using my name is an imposter. Plain and simple. I would have thought his method of insulting people and disapearing would have been a giveaway.
As for the gardai on this occasion. One thing strikes me, it was a litter warden that first approached so that says a lot. Do you think he was told to do this?
in relation to Guards, we can remove leaflets ect if they are of a certain nature. IE I once stopped a man handing out leaflets that agreed with child abuse and encouraged it. My actions were based on complaints from the public. I once had to speak to anti-abortion protestors because A, They were littering and B, surrounded a man and abused him from a height. Other than that I left them to their own devices, I cant speak fully about an area I dont work in but on my side protestors are nearly always left alone.
That can be seen any day of teh week at the GPO.
I think this is a clear case of one side of a two sided story being told.
As for our grasp of the law, we know criminal law very well thank you very much Mr amateur lawyer. We are using it daily.

author by Alpublication date Fri May 27, 2005 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually another thing to say.
1. Guards cant sign affidavits or ombudsmen. I believe you want a commisioner of oaths for that (a solicitor)
2. Basic Grasp of the law? Do you really believe someone can have only a basic grasp of their occupation? Thats just insulting. For criminal law we are very well informed, a solicitor knows more law overall but that includes commercial, tort, etc.
BTW I think I have shown that knowledge more than once.

author by Curiouspublication date Fri May 27, 2005 18:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ned Garvey and collusion with the Brits
British involvement in the 1974 Dublin Monaghan bombings

MAGILL Ireland, April 1999:

Murder, Collusion & Lies

Incidents involving cross-border incursions and Garda collusion with the British security forces in the early to mid-Seventies - when Garvey was Assistant Commissioner For Crime and Security - are meticulously documented. Fred Holroyd, a former British intelligence officer with MI6, had three meetings with Garvey at the Phoenix Park HQ between 1974 and 1975. The last meeting took place the day before Holroyd finally left the North.
Holroyd told Magill, "Garvey knew the information he was giving me was going back to MI6 because he was aware that I was a conduit for that organization. At one of the meetings he handed me photographs of 200 republicans from the IRA and INLA to take back."
Holroyd also tells how Garvey would arrange a "freeze area" on the southern side of the border, effectively allowing the British security forces to move unhindered. "He would tell local officers to pull back from an area, so many grid squares, so the intelligence forces could move around with impunity and without anyone knowing.”

Statement by John Weir 3rd February 1999
See full extensive statement on:

1. I am a former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) which I joined in 1970 and served until 1980. After initial training in Enniskillen Training Depot, I began my police career in Strandtown RUC Station in East Belfast.

2. I left the RUC in 1980 following my conviction for the murder of William Strathearn at Ahoghill, Co. Antrim, which occurred in April 1977. I will deal with this incident later in this statement.

13. I recall that McClure told me, at that meeting in Armstrong's house, that there was a farmhouse at Glenanne from which they had already carried out several operations. He did not tell me, at that stage, the identity of the person who owned the farmhouse but he said it was owned by an RUC officer. He also said it might be necessary for his group to find a different base of operations because he believed that police officers, who were unaware that the group's activities had been authorized at a higher level, knew that the farmhouse had been used in connection with the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974. McClure informed me about this attack and others which he and others had carried out from this location. These included:

(i) the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I believe that 33 people were killed and scores seriously injured in these two bombings, which occurred on the same day. The explosives for both attacks had been provided by Captain John Irwin, an Intelligence Officer in the UDR. The bombs had been assembled at the farmhouse in Glenanne, which was owned by the RUC Officer James Mitchell. The main organizer of both attacks had been a Loyalist paramilitary and UDR Captain Billy Hanna from Lurgan, Co. Armagh. The bombs had been transported in cars with Robin Jackson, Billy Hanna and David Payne taking part in the Dublin attack and Stuart Young taking responsibility for the one in Monaghan. StuartYoung later told me, at a meeting at Mitchell's farmhouse, that he had intended to place the Monaghan bomb outside a different bar in the town but the Gardai (police), who were completely unaware of what his gang were doing, had not allowed them to park at that location. Although those two bombings were amongst the worst atrocities of the Irish Troubles, those responsible for them were never even questioned by the RUC, even though both the RUC and Army Intelligence knew within days of the bombings the identities of the culprits. Indeed, since Irwin belonged to Army Intelligence it is possible that both Army Intelligence and the RUC were aware of the pending bomb attacks before they took place. Hanna and Jackson are now dead but Mitchell, Payne and Irwin are still alive.

(ii) a bomb and gun attack on two pubs in Crossmaglen, carried out by McClure and Robert McConnell in November 1974, with the getaway car provided by James Mitchell and his housekeeper Lily shields. A local man, Thomas McNamee, was seriously injured and died from his injuries a year later. No one has ever been prosecuted for this crime.

(iii) the murder of two Gaelic football supporters at Tullyvallen, near Newtownhamilton in August 1975 by McClure,McConnell and other Loyalists belonging to the UVF. These men were wearing military uniforms when they stopped the two football supporters and after identifying them as Catholics, shot them dead.

(iv) a gun and bomb attack on Donnelly's bar in Silverbridge, South Armagh in December 1975. This was carried out in retaliation for the murder of an RUC Reserve Constable William Meeklim who, the group believed had been held at the a ter being kidnapped by the IRA. I understand that three people were killed in this attack and that several more were injured. Mr. Donnelly's 14 year old son was one of those shot dead in the attack. Those responsible for the attack are: Stuart Young, Sammy McCoo, "Shilly" Silcock, McConnell, with the get away car provided by Laurence McClure and Lily Shields. After the attack the group reassembled at Mitchell's farmhouse. I believe that no one has ever been prosecuted for these murders but that the RUC has known the truth for many years. On the same night Robin Jackson led a gang which placed a bomb in Dundalk, south of the border. One person was killed in that attack. Both attacks were co-ordinated.
(v) the murder of three Catholic brothers, the Reaveys, at Whitecross, South Armagh in January 1976. This attack was carried out by McConnell, Laurence McClure, RUC Reserve Constable Johnny Mitchell and one of McClure's brothers who, alone, was not a member of the security forces. On the same night Robin Jackson shot the three O'Dowd brothers dead. Both attacks were co-ordinated.

(vi) a car bomb in Castleblaney across the border in County Monaghan in March 1976 in which one man was killed. This attack was carried out by Laurence McClure and Robert McConnell. The explosives used in this attack, as in the others mentioned above, were provided by UDR Captain John Irwin and they were stored in Mitchell's farmhouse before the operation - though neither of these facts were revealed to me at this first meeting in Armstrong's house.


Al, here are some web sites that might help your research.

When you have finished reading that lot come back to us

What more 'proof' do you want: a signed statement form the former Commissioner after a few hours sweating it out in the local Garda Station. We would ahve to dig up his dead body first.

Related Link:
author by Curiouspublication date Fri May 27, 2005 18:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Story above should be on eBay MI5 story. (Hard to keep track of Al. Maybe I should ask Betty.)

author by frankpublication date Sat May 28, 2005 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

except they call it a ban on litter not speech, but amounts to the same thing

author by Des Derwinpublication date Sun May 29, 2005 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is not the first time, of course, that this 'ban' has arisen in Dublin. As far as I remember it was sorted out years ago. It was established that leafleting was NOT littering. Prionsias de Rossa was involved if I remember correctly. Can anyone clarify this?

I suggest that, if the legal right to leaflet is not clarified within a reasonable time (a month?), that the left in its entirety, and all democrats, trade union and community activists, campaigners, rally in Grafton Street for an hour of mass leafleting.

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