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Starving outside the Dáil

category national | crime and justice | news report author Thursday September 27, 2007 15:00author by Seán Ryan Report this post to the editors

Peter Preston begins second hunger strike outside the Dáil.
Peter Preston not the focus
Peter Preston not the focus

Yesterday on the 26th of September 2007 the Dáil re-opened for business after the long Summer holdidays. There were many and various protests taking place outside, along with many TD's who were basically complaining about the current government, especially Bertie Ahern. People were protesting about the closure of hospitals, the substandard nature of schools, keeping jobs in Shannon Airport, keeping the US military and spooks out of Shannon Airport and a plethora of other needs and protests. And there was Peter Preston.

After being ignored by those in the Dáil and the media for the most part, Peter has decided to go on a second hunger strike and he started it yesterday as the Government and their alleged opposition returned from their long Summer holidays. I did a brief interview with Peter, the audio file in included with this report.

There are two main aspects to Peter's protest. The first being a civil case in the High Court which took place some years back following a criminal case that arose from an attack on Peter's daughter, in which she was viciously glassed in the face and scarred for life. Please note that Peter's protest is not about the criminal case and it never was. Peter considers it to have been a farce, but it is not an issue he feels that he should protest about. This point must be made because of the constant spin applied to Peter's protest by the Government and others, who have constantly focussed on the criminal case and have spun it that this is what the protest was about. This can be seen from Peter's Press Pack, the contents of which I shall upload in the next few hours.

The second aspect of Peter's protest is to do with hypocrisy. He feels that this particular issue is more important than the issue to do with his daughter and he says so in the interview. Peter says that the pub in which his daughter was attacked in was wilfully catering for underaged drinkers and that they had been engaged in this practice for years. According to Peter, the pub refused to call an ambulance when his daughter was attacked. Her friend eventually had to call an ambulance herself when they went outside the pub. This would seem to indicate a reluctance on the part of the pub to want their practices open to examination. Peter told me that Bertie Ahern was a regular drinker at this pub at the time of the attack and that the owners of the pub were friends of his. It strikes Peter as incredible that Bertie Ahern could walk in and out of the Dáil over a period of 64 days without comment whilst Peter protested outside on his last hunger strike, despite the fact that Peter had placards pointing out the nature of this pub and Bertie Ahern's frequent patronage and friendship with the owners. Peter reckons that this was an overt act of hypocrisy, whereby politicians on the one hand complained about the scourge of underage drinking in this country and on the other hand that they had nothing to say when confronted with an actual example of a pub that facilitated it.

I wish Peter all the best. I don't hold out all that much hope for him. I know very few care.

Interview with Peter - 11.3 MB
audio Interview with Peter - 11.3 MB 11.35 Mb

author by beg your pardonpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 15:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Peter has a case and needs both a civil liberties advocate
and a professional counsellor. He does not need to be
interpreted- nor indulged. the situation is quite serious.

And I would ask that he considers not his anger but his family.

this is in response to the remark that 'no-one cares'.
There are many, including stardust victims in his area , who
have been scorned by the justice system- friends and
people with injustice cases are necessary. His self-isolating
behaviour is not doing him favours and if he chooses to die.
he takes evidence with him- that is helping no-one
and playing their game. he must needs to get in touch with
others and set up a lobby.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was no remark that stated: "no-one cares."

author by responsepublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 17:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The last line of the article states:- "I know very few care".

That was what I was responding to, and I say again that Peter belongs to a community in
Bertie Ahern's constituency and that others there have had problems and that his best chance
is to let go the rage and work for change within his community. he is an intelligent man with
talents that are needed. It is a waste to be sitting outside of the parliament and giving into the anger.
People need his support- it works both ways. I wish Peter all the best but I do not think that a
stab at self-immolation outside the Dail will benefit those whom he cares for. The Stardust families
have difficulties too and they need support, he is channelling his need for justice in a direction which
debilitates his campaign and ensures his story is not told.

[just an opinion]

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 18:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Okay you've clarified that I said "very few care" as opposed to "no-one cares." You now say your response is geared to what I did say. I fail to see in what way this addresses what I did say. Is it refuting it or agreeing with it?

I don't agree with the hunger strike, I've said so in the article and in the interview. I don't necessarily agree with lobbying, in fact I think that's more futile than a hunger strike, unless one possesses the resources to line pockets. I don't see what Peter has in common with the victims of the Stardust, other than it's Bertie's jurisdiction and that all and sundry have ignored both parties. Peter adding himself to the Stardust victims will hardly swell their numbers noticably, and it might be seen to dilute what it is that he is saying. Which in turn might play into the hands of those who like to ignore people. Lot's of supposition I know, that's the nature of uncertainty and indeed life.

I've often spoken to Peter. I don't feel that I'm either interpreting him or indulging him. I'm paraphrasing and condensing what he's said surely, but that's hardly the same thing. Maybe this is indulging him, that's open to interpretation and indeed it's open to choice - my choice.

I don't believe that it is correct for me or indeed anyone else to choose what is best for Peter. Advice is one thing, dictatorship is quite another.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 18:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To clarify my last post. I did not say in the article above that I disagreed with Peter going on a hunger strike. I said it to him in the interview, the audio file is contained in the article above. My apologies for confusing something that's already becoming quite confused.

author by Scepticpublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 21:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The man might have legitimate grievances of some sort but he is going about his redress process in a completely wrong, counter productive and self-destructive way. To put in plainly, if unkindly, he comes across as an obsessed crank and I say that with no ill intent or disrespect towards him. Any real friends of his would take him away home and arrange professional treatment for him to help him overcome his resentments and perhaps channel his energies in a more productive way. Why can’t he object to the renewal of this pub’s license in the courts for instance? I suspect what a counsellor would say to him would be something like life is unfair; you can’t always get the justice you feel you are entitled to and above all you might not be the best judge of your own situation or what you should do. Living in squalor in a tent in Kildare St and being on a hunger strike of some sort is way out of the mainstream behaviour and anyone who had his best interest at heart could see that and should tell him that. He is harming and embarrassing himself and no one else.

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