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Peter Preston - dying outside Leinster House - in his own words

category dublin | crime and justice | news report author Thursday July 06, 2006 07:44author by Seán Ryan + Elaine Report this post to the editors

We interviewed Peter Preston and have begun to transcribe this hour-long interview, the first half of it is printed here today. The second half will continue in the comments section.

Dear Mick,

We're writing to you to wish you well on your well deserved holiday. You need it – it’s been a tough year – and we hope you enjoy it.

Hopefully you’ll be able to retire after it. It is quite obvious Mick – that the job description is well beyond your capabilities. You’re the minister for justice, yet a man outside the Gates of Leinster House, is claiming that his family and in particular his daughter have been denied justice. Yourself and every other person who frequents Leinster House have ignored this man excepting Finian McGrath, as have the media.

You’d rather this man die, than meet with him and discuss your mandate and ministerial job description with him. One should remember at this point Mick, that the PD’s are in government, not because the vote wanted it, but because the Teflon idiot desired it.

Peter Preston, on Wednesday 5th of July, was into the 45th day of the hungerstrike, that brought him seeking justice outside Leinster House. He was visited the day before by a doctor, who checked him over, and said that his heart was okay. Peter, as of today is now refusing even sugar in his tea. He told us that, the sugar intake had prolonged the issue and that if he’d “a known about this, that I’d have gone off the sugar two weeks ago.”

Peter talked about how you Mick, have in the past, castigated the likes of Gerry Adams, for giving offence to the Irish flag. He said of this, that “Ireland is not the flag, it is the citizens.”

He also gave us this: His family’s story (the first part – part two will be given later and printed as a separate interview).

Names of defendants, witnesses and solicitors and victims are not given, just in case it might interfere with any future court dates.

Like we said Mick, enjoy your holiday. It could be a very long one, your undeserved, reign could possibly be coming to an end, at least we think so, and we know anyone familiar with your reign, feels the same.

Peter Preston – transcription interview on 5th of July 2006:-

“ The em… This is very very big. I know how big this is, they know how big this is [Michael McDowell and the rest in Leinster House] and the media know how big this is. This is huge and not many people know how big this is, if you read through the lines of this… You know… But what happened was – on the second of May – Bank Holiday, 1999, my daughter was to meet a few ex-friends of hers from school at a pub on [pub and location not named], it’s a pub that the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern drinks in. And one of the girls she was to meet was after going away for the weekend to Amsterdam, and it was this girl who set up the meeting – with two other girls as well in this pub.

My daughter left my home at approximately 9.30pm, went down to the bank to take out a few… she was with her boyfriend too, took out a few quid – as a matter of fact she got a taxi down to the bank, from a next-door neighbour of ours… Took out a few quid and went up to the pub. She arrived there at about twenty to ten – there’ll be bank statements of that. So with that, two of the other girls arrived, well one girl arrived first – My Daughter’s name is D by the way, her boyfriends name is R O B – and the other girl’s name is J O G, the girl that arrived first, well after D and R O B of course. And then a couple arrived, the other girl that my daughter was to meet, J K and her boyfriend J H. These got together, and were having a drink together, well their first drink in fact, when L C arrived, and with her boyfriend, named F N. And these were the thugs that caused these injuries to my daughter and her boyfriend. Now they came over to where my daughter and her boyfriend was, but they didn’t come over to my daughter. They came over to the other three that was there – were friends of J H and J K. And this L C was after beating up this one, this other girl J G – at a taxi-rank somewhere in town, black eyes and all, she gave her. This L C one – these girls would have been terrified of her, but my daughter wasn’t.

I brought my daughter never to be bullied – to be friends with bullies… well not bullies, but those who who were victims of bullies. That’s the way I’ve brought my children up – never to let nobody bully them.

The girl who went to Amsterdam, her name is E H – she never turned up. The next day, after it happened to D, she came to my home and she told me and my wife and my other daughter M and me daughter D, that she seen L C and F N, outside her home at half nine – from her bedroom window – arguing with one and other. And she said to us that she’s not going up there [the pub] cause she knew there’d be trouble once, L C was in that frame of mind. So that’s the reason why she never turned up. So afterwards – my daughter’s boyfriend, never met F N and L C – now he knew the other three – he’d met them a couple of times before that – so, he got up to play a record on the jukebox.

Now this pub is in a residential area. And this pub’s policy is – was – at that time… They were notorious for serving drink to underaged – sixteen, seventeen. I have evidence of that; proof of that. J K was only seventeen on the night that this happened to my daughter. And J G was only a month turned eighteen. And they drank in this pub at least a year before this happened – at least! So there you’re talking between sixteen and seventeen years of age.

The next policy of the pub was… was em… was to allow these two vicious thugs, to walk past the doormen – the doormen knowing what they had done to my daughter. And walked past them – away – out – and not being held for police.

The third policy of the pub, was to allow my daughter – my daughter ended up receiving 25 stitches in the face – to allow my daughter to wait outside that pub for an ambulance, for fifteen or twenty minutes. After the pub being told on numerous occasions by J G and J K and all – screaming at them to phone for an ambulance, which they never did [the pub]. Because J G told me the next morning, when she came down to my home and J K was with her... That they were waiting outside for the ambulance to come – and the Guards came alright – the pub had phoned the Guards – didn’t phone the ambulance. They were shouting, ‘where’s the ambulance, where’s the ambulance?’ So some girl that was there – J G took her phone off her and phoned up the ambulance. ‘Where’s the ambulance?’ she said… But they said there was no ambulance phoned. So she told them to come up to the pub.

And then the final policy of the pub, was the set up of… cause I was told by a barman from that pub, some time later – I met him in January, about a week and a half before the civil case – around the second of January 2004 – he told me, that all bar staff were called into the pub early next morning – he told me…

Let’s go back to the pub. R O B told me that he got up that night to put on a record on the jukebox. Now this pub is in a residential area, not another pub within hundreds of yards of it – all homes around it. Yet this pub caters for young teenagers, with a jukebox upstairs. It’s a little dog box. In the court case, they were reckoning that it was the same size as the pub downstairs – the pub downstairs would be four or five times the size of what’s upstairs. A dog box they have for teenage kids! And we all know what underage drinking leads to. Costs the state millions of Euros – they’ve been after saying that for the last few years. Teenage pregnancies, emergency rooms packed out with drunken teenagers… And violence… All over the town – we all know the consequences of underage drinking. An inspector with the police – in the civil case – made this pub out to be whiter than white.

So R O B went up to put on a record, and was on his way back down – this pub was packed – when he bumped off L C – he’d never met L C or F N. And bumped off her – and he apologized. And D and R O B were the only two who had seats. R O B sat back down. L C said something to F N, whatever it was and the two of them started roaring and shouting and pointing fingers into R O B’s face. This went on for I don’t know how long – maybe a few seconds. And D turned around, because D knew L C – D was in her school. L C was expelled from that school, she’s been a bully all of her life. Absolutely notorious for it – all around that area. And D said to L C ‘we’re not here for any trouble. We don’t want any trouble.’ With that L C turned around and said something to my daughter – ‘Shut up you fat fuck you’ or ‘you fat pig you’ or something similar. And the way I taught my daughter – never let anyone bully you – answered her back, ‘you’d want to look at your fuckin’ self.’ And the verbal argument continued on this way for a few seconds and then it was over with – as far as my daughter was concerned. My daughter was still sitting down. My daughter turned around to take a drink. When she was lifting up her glass, to take a drink, she got a glass smashed into her face – By L C. Her hair was tore by L C and the only thing my daughter could do was to grab L C’s hair. She probably didn’t know or even think that she’d had a glass in her face at that time. And when she grabbed a hold of L C’s hair, L C said ‘Let go D, you’re hurting me.’ And D let her go. L C then pulled D down further [by the hair] and at this point it was broken up. Now I was told, the next day, by J K – her and J G came down to my home the next day – and told us – and told us exactly what happened – my family – J K was after turning around and saying to us, that when she seen the verbal argument, she’d seen L C nod at F N. A glass simulataneously went into my daughter’s face and another over R O B’s head. He ended up receiving three stitches in the head. Now there was ruptions… you can imagine what happened… D ran into the toilet screaming. Picture it – nineteen years of age she was. L C and J G came down to my home the next day – they told me what happened. Exactly what happened. And E H came down to my home a little bit later in the day – maybe in the afternoon. And E H told me that she’d seen both of them [L C and F N] arguing outside her home – she told my family – both of them arguing outside her window – her bedroom window – approximately half nine – they must have been on their way up to that pub. And that’s why she didn’t go up there. January 2002 is when the civil case came to court. We only received a letter – a little note – on the 17th of January. And this was written that night – supposedly – or the next day.”

We asked: The night of the attack?

“Yeah – the night of the attack. That L C was drinking downstairs and left that pub with drink in her hand, going upstairs. Now it transpires that E H was supposed to have said to my daughter’s solicitor, that she never came home from Amsterdam until the following day – right – that’s what they’re saying – we never seen E H more or less after that. After we were told, exactly what happened, what I’ve said – I was told – my daughters told me – that these were changing their statements. First of all L C and F N were allowed to go to Spain without being arrested, they went over to work in Spain for months and months and came back here. They were allowed to go to Spain… What was done about them?

J K and J G gave statements to an Garda Siochana in Clontarf police station. As did my daughter and R O B. My daughter had to make two statements as a matter of fact and we never seen one of them. No statements were signed whatsoever. [although Garda names appeared on them], the people who made them. J K never signed a statement, J G never signed a statement, my daughter never signed a statement – I don’t know about the second one we never seen – maybe that’s the only one that was signed – I was with her that night and was put out of the room, I never seen that statement, maybe it was signed, but we never seen it –even in the courts. They made statements to – we never seen them – now remember L C was underage. I was told then a few months later that they were changing their statements – J K and J G. So I asked for them to come to my home – to be brought up – by their parents. J K came up one night with her mother – and came in – and sat down and had tea – and starts telling me a different story. And she’d already told me [when she came to Peter’s house after the initial attack] that L C was already barred from that pub. So she started telling me a different story – that L C threw the glass from a distance. And I said, ‘That’s not what you told me.’ And she then said, that, ‘I’ll say anything you want.’ And I said ‘no – I only want you to speak the truth – the truth is all I want from you.’ A few days later J G came up to my home. She starts telling me a different story as well. I said, ‘that’s not what you told me. When you came up to my home after this happened to my daughter.’ She also said that she’d say anything I wanted her to say. I said the same thing to her – ‘no’ – she didn’t come up with her father or anyone. ‘I want you to tell the truth – I want you to tell exactly what happened.’

The way things worked out was – w thought at the start – J G, J K and J H would have been witnesses against these two. So what transpired was – my daughter – took a court action with criminal charges against L C. R O B took a criminal action against F N. And this was after people had changed their stories and all that… We were going down to L C’s mother’s home and her mother told us that ‘she was the devil.’ – her mother works in a hospital – and that she was expecting that at any time – someone would be coming in – dead on a stretcher. Her elder sister told us that they would invite L C to her 21st birthday party, and that she [L C] smashed up her mother’s home in response to this. We told all this to a young Bean Garda who was looking after this court case – a young bean Garda – I can’t even see why she was given this case. She was based in Clontarf. So F N ended up perjuring himself in the criminal case – that R O B had hit him first – and that’s how the argument started. – and everyone knew that that was lies. Cause in the civil case – the complete opposite. He wasn’t even questioned – but you said this in the criminal case – not a word! F N got off – his case got dismissed.

L C pleaded guilty. Got an 18 months suspended sentence and fined E3000 to give to my daughter. What happened was, when it came to the civil case – as far as I was concerned – the case was over – all over. When in fact F N’s case was dismissed, I said to R O B, ‘you go up and drop that case’ I said – I had a funny feeling, I didn’t know what it was, but I knew there was something funny happening here – they’d all changed their statements – I’d a funny feeling here. R O B, went up – he had the same solicitor – and R O Y went up to this solicitor, P T – went up to him and said – ‘will I drop this case?’ [P T]: ‘No keep it on.’ Six weeks before the civil case, in other words six week before the case in January 2002, my daughter, her boyfriend R O B and her little daughter – she’d had a little daughter by this stage – went up to the Four Courts to meet with the senior barrister and junior barrister, for the first time, about this case. And when they went up, D was telling them what’d happened, that they were having their first drink and the junior barrister turned around and said that they’d heard that before. And the solicitor turned around to her and told her to drop this case. Or if you are offered E5,000 – accept it. Now my wife asked this solicitor P T – why would he tell R O B to keep his case on he got three stitches in the head and tell my daughter to drop her case? Why would he say that? My daughter came home and told me, and she was upset – you’d want to see my daughter – bad enough post traumatic stress – without this. I said to D, ‘ If R O B is called first you’ll have no case. And that’s the way it proved to be.

So we went to the court on the 17th of January 2002. Me and my wife followed them up. Let me go back… There was a very good friend of my daughter – she went to school with her. And on the day of this incident, she was in an offlicense or something to buy cigarettes, and she seen L C and F N buying lots of drink that day. As far as we were concerned C C [the friend] was a witness for us. We knew the others were gone onto the pub’s side. So we went up to the court, me and and me wife – up to the high court. And we were looking around to see where they were – we couldn’t find them. We seen the Bean Garda who was looking after the case with an inspector of the police, this is the inspector that was telling that the pub was whiter than white. We were told that they were down in the conference rooms – where you speak with the solicitor about the case. We found it anyway, and we went in. D was in there, R O B was in there, C C was in there, the engineer was in there – the engineer that went and checked out the pub – he was a witness – supposedly for us – and the senior barrister was in there and the solicitor was in there. This was the first time that it transpire that I seen the note that the pub gave – that L C was supposed to be drinking downstairs, before she went upstairs. So she could be in two places at the one time. Solicitor knew all this. This was the first time the note was pulled out – the solicitor knew all this – that it happened. That was the first I’d heard of it.”

Thus ends the first part of the transcript of our first interview. This transcript will continue in the comments and the second interview will be published separately (it’s going to be a separate interview – to be taped today). Apologies to Indy readers – for doing it this way. Time restraints have left us with little or no choice.

Please check back later. This interview is not to be missed, as you can probably already guess.

author by Elainepublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 13:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Taken yesterday evening.



author by Daithi - Nonepublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can someone clarify here.

Has Peter not eaten any food or liquiid substitute at all, for 45 days?

author by quibblespublication date Thu Jul 06, 2006 19:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hunger strikes can be divided into many categories. The quickest includes thirst fast - organ collapse occurs with death in less than a week.
No solid food averages around 60 days but the last week sees coma.
The Turkish hunger strikers accepted glucose mixed with salts (which offsets internal organ damage) and also took vitamin supplements (the most important of such being vitamins C and B lack of C will bring scurvy his lips will bleed- lack of B might provoke Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) some of the Turkish hunger strikers lasted over 200 days. However, 40 days is the very standard limit for fasting. "forty days and forty nights" . There can be no doubt that Peter Preston is engaged in a very serious protest with physiological affects, many of which could be life threatening if not immediately then in the next years (should he suceed now in his campaign or relent and simply stop).
From the constant reports which have been made on his status, there have been changes in his physique and neurological processes associated with food deprivation. He's lost a lot of weight which ought be obvious comparing photos from the last weeks to now. He's slurring his words slightly which you will have noticed whilst you interviewed him. No-one as of yet has asessed his vision which is the first sense to go. But there can be little doubt that he is very publically heading for death. He has refused the option of ongoing medical monitoring, which would require him going to hospital. Understandably, his tent would be unattended, besides he has already issued a statement upholding his human right to refuse medical intervention. However, that does nothing to prevent us as the wider "indymedia community" paying more attention to the symptoms and correcting them with the neccesary supplements in liquid solution. - that will not affect the legitimacy of his strike. There is one more element which is worrying, he's a habitual user of a codeine paracetemol based painkiller which was recommended him for a back condition - paracetemol is surprisingly hard on the stomach lining and not suitable for anyone in fast conditions, codeine is a powerful painkiller which might mask other symptoms.

At end it is really quite simple.

A member of the Irish Labour Party, deputy Joe Costello needs to go talk to him accompanied by independent observers and engage with his complaints. We sometimes call this "humble pie".
Deputy Costello must do this not only as an act of public compassion but also in the political interest of the Irish Labour Party. None of us would presume to put words in deputy Costello's mouth, but very few of us concerned by this case will quickly forget how he has avoided it. It bodes ill for any Labour participation in Ministries of Government in the future.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_strike
author by smiffy - http://cedarlounge.wordpress.compublication date Fri Jul 07, 2006 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is it you think Joe Costello should or could do about this?

author by Concerned Public - Nonepublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please Please Someone, Listen to what Peter is saying he has obviously good reason to be Starving himself for over 50 Days.

At this stage we all know the reasons why he is doing it and we also know that the Parliament are ignoring him, So this man needs immediate attention..NOW

Could you live with it on your conciensce if Peter Dies ?????

HIS family really need him..

Please Help Him

author by mOusepublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can you find this out. There was a concerned doctor who examined him.
and he will go and see him, but Peter must ask for him, this is his
hunger-strike and he has stated non-interference.

author by public - nonepublication date Thu Jul 13, 2006 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I understand that , but the whole Point of a hunger Strike is that he will stay until the death, If he does not get what he wants from Mr Joe Costello and his other requests, Its not a doctor that can solve his problems its the parliament

author by tonypublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 17:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are Bertie Ahern and Michael McDowell the Margaret Thatcher of today? to leave a citizen of Ireland to die on Hunger Strike (day 56) SHAME ON THEM!

author by Tank Girlpublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No Minister can do anything about a court decision. Thats the way it should be. Do you really want Bertie or McDowell to be able to overturn a court decision? I feel sorry for Peter, he feels hard done by. Justice probably wasnt done. But no TD can have those men imprisoned as Peter wants. Joe Costello cant do anything. Joe Higgins cant help him.

The only way anyone can help Peter is to get him to end his Hungerstrike.

author by readerpublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 22:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So it says today in the Times (now they have decided to report the case) McDowell has agreed to meet him, although he still sounds dimissive of him, day 60ish, they phrase is his upset at not punishing 'a gang' who assaulted his daughter, I don't think I've read here that the two people got suspended sentences? But as you say thats the criminal case which is done with.What about the second part of his interview? Thanks.

author by mOusepublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 22:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The man is sick.

and I don't mean Preston.

*It has to be made clear to Mc Dowell that the criminal case is not the issue but the removal of transcripts in the civil case.*

(which Peter Preston says that Micheal knows).

author by Seán Ryan + Elainepublication date Mon Jul 17, 2006 23:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is the second part of the transcription of Peter's story. It's taking very long to transcribe for a variety of reasons. Peter was quite weak when he told us his story and sometimes he tended to ramble and repeat and sometimes slur his words. Checking and re-checking takes lots of time.

Apologies for the delay and the rest of the story will be transcribed as soon as we can manage it.


“That was the first I’d heard of it. And we were after asking the solicitor to get E H subpoenaed to court two weeks before this and that was the first time we heard as well that she said that she wasn’t home, that she was still in Amsterdam on the night this happened … and it was the first we heard of this as well – right, so that’s when he said, that she said she wasn’t there – but he was after asking my daughter to go to E H. But I said, ‘no you do it’. I had to go out to the barman that worked in the pub, because he had left the pub at this stage, and he worked in a pub out in Coolock. I still only know his first name – his first name is Enda. And I told that to the solicitor and told him where he worked. He phoned them up and he said that to me in this room – that he phoned them up, and he said he knows about L C being barred from the pub. And I said ‘well I went out to him’ and he told me that there was a big meeting with all the bar staff the next morning [the morning after the incident]. And we were all lead to believe that this case was starting in the afternoon. We were all lead to believe that, and this was getting on – lateish. When we’re going out, we were going to go in for a cup of tea – they never said to us that the case was going on in a few minutes, we were lead to believe that the case was going on in the afternoon. So when we’re walking out, the senior barrister says to me, ‘what will we go on?’ I wasn’t naïve, I knew what was going on, I knew there was something very wrong going on. But I was all over the place, do you understand? I was after seeing this note and everything. I said ‘well you have to go on the pub being packed’ – like a fool – I walked out and we had a cup of tea.

And inside, after the cup of tea, is two barmen from the pub – right – and J K, J G and J H and they’re not sitting together. The two barmen are sitting on their own, but they were together if you know what I mean, there just weren’t enough seats for five at the table. We sat down and had a cup of tea and I said to my wife ‘go back in there and tell the solicitor to get E H subpoena over to this court and she went in and she said it to him. We went out then to have a smoke and like that we were called. ‘Come on quick, the case is called.’ We were brought upstairs in the High Court, I think it was court 14, long, long corridor. And as far as I remember there was no other case. It was like – we were caught on the hop. This Judge is after coming on the scene or whatever… and there was nobody on the whole landing. There must have been about ten courtrooms, about that, and we are the only people up there. Into the court – wait till you hear what I’m going to tell you now – you’re not going to believe this…”

Us: Did you get the name of the Judge?

“yeah, she’s dead – Imelda Carroll, she only died in January gone. Right, now I’m out here two years ago saying this about her so I was well … I’m not only saying this cause she is dead … I haven’t really given anyone her name. Her brother is a parish priest in Donnybrook and I asked a priest that I know would he get in contact with him before I bring out anything about Imelda Carroll. That’s only a few weeks ago. And would Imelda Carroll have said anything to him that she wanted to let my family know what was done. I wanted him to go out there and see if she had confessed or said anything. She would have known I was out on hunger strike at that point – She would have known that…

So what happened was we went into the court. D, R O B, me and my wife were sitting at the back of the court. Down the other end, the wittnesses, J K, J G, J H and the Bean Garda laughing and joking with the three of these. And barely recognised us, all day Thursday, I was there all day, and the following Tuesday – barely recognised us – laughing and joking. And she knew that they’d changed all their statements [the bean garda]- she knew that. Wait till you hear what happeened... The senior barrister comes over and says, - we could all hear what he was saying – ‘we’ll have two separate cases’ – ‘D you say the argument went on longer than it did.’ So he told my daughter to lie. ‘You say the argument went on longer than it did.’ And [he] walked away. And I said to my daughter, ‘D there’s no way you say anything he just said.’ She’d no need to tell any lies – you know – there’s no need to tell any lies. That’s as sure as my little grandson is seven weeks old today – may I never live another minute. He [the barrister] gets up and proceeds to say, ‘Your honour, we have two separate cases... they have the same evidence.’ And suddenly we have an offer.

D and R O B is called outside. They go outside... They come back into me. R O B is offered €1,200 and D is offered €4,000. The reason I’m saying this here and now, is that they were offered that knowing that they’d refuse it. R O B told me, ‘Peter I’ll accept that.’ I knew what was going on so I said, ‘Yeah R O B, lovely.’ That would leave D in the case and that’s what these were afraid of, I knew that. So she went back outside. D said she’d refuse that and R O B said he’d accept that. They said, ‘No no no... Oh no, the others wont accept that at all. No – package deal or nothing.' That's why they done that. They knew... – they thought that they would accept that. So the case went ahead. In the original transcripts that R O B got, they have it blocked out that we didn't take the lunch break – we took a lunch break. We went for soup – whatever – and I told R O B, 'as soon as we go back, you get up in that witness box' – we didn't suspect the judge at that stage – 'tell the judge what's after happening, tell her that you were offered €1,200 as soon as we go back in there.' We went back. And about ten minutes before the judge came back, we're sitting there and they get called out...

Let me go back.”

ENDS for now, more will follow soon:-------------------------------------------------------------

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