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Labour Party Conference: "Violence, What Violence" - asks Galway Peace Group

category galway | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday April 15, 2012 14:58author by Galway Alliance Against War Report this post to the editors

In reaction to press reports of violence during the protests at the Labour Party conference at NUI Galway, Galway’s local peace group, the Galway Alliance Against War, has issued the following statement.

“GAAW’s symbolic funeral for Irish neutrality was at the head of Saturday’s protest march to the Labour Party conference. The tricolour-draped coffin carried by four pallbearers dressed as Guantanamo prisoners was a poignant image with a strong message: Irish neutrality is dead since consecutive Irish governments – including the FG-Labour coalition - have colluded with Washington’s disastrous “war on terror”, which has turned Shannon airport into a US warport.

“ In response to the sensational media reports of violence, we would ask, what violence? Apart from the unnecessary use of pepper spray by the Gardaí there was nothing other than some pushing and shoving. It has to be said that the Gardaí were quite restrained. This reflects the disaffection of the Gardaí with the policies that are impacting on the vast majority of Irish citizens, including members of the Gardaí. But perhaps the most ludicrous media report was that our coffin was used as a "battering ram". The fact that nobody was hurt by the coffin – only by pepper spray - shows that report to be nonsense.

“If the Irish media wants to know about violence then perhaps it should turn its attention to the military hardware including chemical weapons that have travelled through Shannon warport en route to Iraq and Afghanistan. Take a look at the reports of the US attack on Fallujah in 2004 and its aftermath, where white phosphorous was used that came via Shannon.

“Or maybe the Irish media should read the testimony of “extraordinary rendition” victim Binyam Mohamad. His CIA kidnappers and torturers travelled through Shannon warport on two occasions and even stayed overnight en route to bring Mr Mohamad to torture. Now there is real violence. The Irish state was in breach of international law. And the present government is also in breach, as Gilmore has refused to search any of the US warplanes travelling through Shannon, preferring to accept the highly unreliable assurances of his confidant the US ambassador.

“And if the Irish media has still not got an understanding about what violence is, then maybe they should look at the body count from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far more than 1.5 million people have been killed. And Irish governments under Fianna Fail, the PDs, the Greens, Fine Gael and Labour have been accessories to these killings. Yes, they have blood on their hands and so has the Irish people because we have failed to prevent our airports and air space to be used by the US warmongers.

“Indeed, Eamon Gilmore in his speech to conference hailed his government’s collusion in the “war on terror” in Afghanistan as something to be proud of: ‘I want to pay tribute tonight to …the members of our Defence Forces and Gardaí serving in … Afghanistan…They all represent the best of what it is to be Irish.’

“By bringing Irish neutrality’s coffin to the conference hall door we wanted to raise the real issues of violence that Ireland is involved in and which the powers-that-be and the media prefer to ignore.”

For your information:

author by John Kellypublication date Mon Apr 16, 2012 21:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heartfelt solidarity to all involved.

Could I make a suggestion which myself and others have put to practical effect.

Email the paper or news station which reported the coffin being used as a 'battering ram' etc and request them to issue a prominent apology for the false report/s.

If they fail to do so, send a copy of the e-mail to the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Authority and attach your formal complaint/s to the same organisations.

Dublin Shell to Sea done this with the Sindo and RTE, when both outlets smeared the victims in the "rape tape" story.

A relatively prominent correction was published by the Sindo and by RTE. I know that the Sindo initially refused to engage but the Press Ombudsman finding changed the situation.

The wretches will be much more sensitive since the hullaballo over 'tweetgate' and the priest, so it may well be worth the effort lodging the complaints.

Best Regards,


author by Galway Alliance Against Warpublication date Mon Apr 16, 2012 22:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for above comments and support. We do contact all media outlets. Alas, not only the warmongers dislike us but others too:

From Socialist Party Cllr Ruth Coppinger's Facebook page:
"I see Galway Anti War are bragging about the great day they had yesterday on their Facebok page. Some anti-war group. Hijack a peaceful march and get your picture in the paper is a good day's work."

And here is GAAW's response to this scandalous attack:

The above comment from Socialist Party Councillor Coppinger proves one thing, the Galway Alliance Against War has no party political bias! GAAW has been in existence over 10 years and in that time the Fianna Failers have called for us to be “run out of town”, the Republican Sinn Feiners joined forces with the Gardai to prevent us carrying out a peace event and now the Socialist Party are condemning us for highlighting the death of Irish neutrality.

It is worth noting that at the last Labour conference held in Galway 2 years ago, GAAW were outside (exactly where we were on Saturday!) and lobbied Labour delegates on the issue of Shannon warport. We didn’t ask Ruth Coppinger or Uncle Joe Higgins then could we appear, so why should we have asked them on Saturday?

Besides, we announced in the GAAW April Bulletin – well before there was any news of a household charge campaign protest – Irish neutrality’s funeral arrangements and they were to assemble at Eyre Sq at 2pm on the 14th April. We received no contact from the Household Charge campaign in Galway or Dublin and were surprised to see their expensive yellow posters all over Galway last Wednesday declaring their protest would start from Eyre Sq. at 1pm. GAAW supporters only arrived at Eyre Sq around 2pm and were again surprised to see the Household people still there!

We had no knowledge of the Household Campaign’s march route, nor did we know that Uncle Joe Higgins had come to a cosy agreement with the Gardai to hold a public meeting in NUIG’s grounds. All along GAAW’s aim was to go to the Bailey Allen Hall where we had been 2 years ago and make our feelings felt over the fact that a ¼ million armed US troops went through Shannon warport under Eamon Gilmore’s watch, as did thousands of tons of deadly armaments. We wanted to make it clear that the Labour Party leadership are accessories to mass murder.

At no point were we invited to participate in the Household Charge event nor to speak on their platform. Indeed, we have heard since that our friends in Occupy Galway were refused permission to speak on the platform until they threatened to occupy the platform! No, the only contact we had was Uncle Joe (is it Higgins or Stalin?) telling us as we began to march “to get in line”. Sorry, but we don’t take orders.

So we went on our merry way. And the rest is history.

author by pat cpublication date Mon Apr 16, 2012 22:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm appalled at those remarks. Was it really Ruth Coppinger? I''d expect this duplicity from RBB..

Congrats again to GAAW. I posted your statement on Politics.ie It helped to counter a lot of rubbiish.

author by Galway Alliance Against Warpublication date Mon Apr 16, 2012 23:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Oh, it was definitely Cllr C. The comment is on her facebook page.

As we note above we are well used to being attacked. A badge of honour at this stage!

author by Brian - Nonepublication date Mon Apr 16, 2012 23:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well Pat, I know its shocking but I think RBB was actually hugely supportive of the protesters: On twitter in response to slur by Sindo RBB tweeted: "...I applauded 1000 protestors who went to conference entrance & joined them."

Funny that Ruth Coppinger makes these remarks and prominent SP members, included elected councillors were openly trying to stop people moving past the gardai and joining the protest at the doors of the Labour Party Conference.

When asked about the whole situation on RTE Radio "This Week" on Sunday, Paul Murphy (MEP) from the SP said that the SP took a decision not to join the protest at the doors of the conference- the reason? They had agreed to congregrate in a car park at a safe distance from the Labour conference.

Wonder what other activists will think of this?
I remember activists, in particular many anarchists getting very exercised during anti war protests accusing the swm of similiar stuff. Not hearing the same complaints now.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 00:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well heres an interesting report. Maybe the foreign language was Gaeilge.

Politicians leading the demonstration, including the People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, claimed their peaceful demonstration had been "hijacked" by large numbers of demonstrators who were seen speaking into mobile phones in a foreign language.

Mr Boyd Barrett said he didn't see any violence but heard there had been some scuffles. "I believe there was some pushing and shoving but I can't comment on any violence as I didn't see it," he told the Sunday Independent.


author by Brian - Nonepublication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 01:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That quote in the Sindo is a misquote. RBB never said that and in fact clarified same on his twitter page- backing the protesters.
Still it'll be interesting to see what people think of Coppinger and co having a go at protesters who didn't follow the party line and obey the 'workers in uniform' instructions to stay away from conference venue

author by pat cpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 01:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ok, i guess I'll have to believe RBB over the Sindo. That stuff about people talking into mobiles in a foreign language is bizarre. Maybe it was turfcutters.

author by Tpublication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 13:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are so few photos because no-one has posted up any. It is probably related to the fact that readership has fallen off.

What is a pity is that people post their pictures to facebook where they likely get lost in terms of the historical record and it is not clear also whether facebook take copyright of them too.

So if you have photos or know anyone who was there then please encourage them to post them here.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The members of Occupy Galway were proud to take part in what must be the biggest peaceful demonstration of solidarity and people power in Galway for many years. Between six and eight thousand people gathered on Eyre Square to march on the Labour conference and air a range of grievances from housing, water and septic tank charges, anti-bondholder bailout campaigners, anti-war, anti-fracking, SPARK, Shell to Sea and the Rossport campaigners, as well as many people unaffiliated with any group. As the crowd grew throughout the morning, it became clear that there is massive discontent at the way that the labour party has represented itself in government." (From: http://www.occupygalway.org/ )

Eyre Square seems like a very good place to have started last Saturday's protest, because the Square has been officially renamed "John F. Kennedy Memorial Park" in honour of US President John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway City shortly before his assassination in 1965.

There is probably nobody (as far as I know) who has ever done more to try and avoid thermonuclear war than the late John F. Kennedy; and, allowing for the present threat of a thermonuclear World War 3 connected with all the warmongering of recent months relating to Libya, Syria, Iran, Israel, and so on, and the much feared involvement of Russia, China, and possibly other large nations later on, if the present warmongering efforts ever come to fruition, it seems worthwhile perhaps (just now) to remind ourselves of John F Kennedy's Radio and Television Address of July 26th 1963 to the American People, on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty situation of that time.

Among the many memorable statements contained in that July 26th 1963 speech are the following:

"If only one thermonuclear bomb were to be dropped on any American, Russian, or any other city, whether it was launched by accident or design, by a madman or by an enemy, by a large nation or by a small, from any corner of the world, that one bomb could release more destructive power on the inhabitants of that one helpless city than all the bombs dropped in the Second World War."

"And the survivors, as Chairman Khrushchev warned the Communist Chinese, 'the survivors would envy the dead'."

The full text of former US President John F. Kennedy's speech of July 26th 1963 can be viewed at:

Earlier today, and allowing for the fact that much of the present very threatening "thermonuclear warmongering" referred to above appears (to me at least) to be coming from Anglo American despots (or "tin-gods" as I see them), mention was made of the July 26th 1963 speech by JFK in an e-mail sent to "The Official Website of The British Monarchy". For anybody interested, the full text of the e-mail used, which was copied to (among several others) United States Human Rights/Constitutional Lawyer Dr Francis A. Boyle, can be viewed at the following location:

Today's e-mail to the "The Official Website of The British Monarchy" also included the following excerpt:

"Allowing for Ireland's ancient heritage links with Brehon Law, the high-quality reputation of Brehon Law for fairness and compassion, and the great respect it was held in by the people of Ireland -- which it earned for itself during the 2,950 year period or so of its operational existence, believed to have been between around 1300 BC and 1650 AD approximately -- let this badly needed RESURRECTION of God-Given Natural Justice begin in the Republic of Ireland (in Galway perhaps!!)?"

Related Link:
Related Link: http://www.humanrightsireland.com

author by wageslave - (personal capacity)publication date Tue Apr 17, 2012 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"So if you have photos or know anyone who was there then please encourage them to post them here."

Occupy Galway have kindly obliged here:


and a few more here:

some great photos! thank you OG!!

Kudos to everyone from all groups who participated in the protest.Ignore the divisive trolls, by all accounts it was a great success.


author by Micknedpublication date Thu Apr 19, 2012 01:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ruth should try and put her brain in gear before engaging her mouth,.

This is a peoples campaign. The political parties made a good effort getting started, but its time to let go now.

We need a peoples movement and campaigns like this are the training ground. Without a peoples movement nothing changes. This is the SPs policy actually. So please back off and stop shitting on your own side.

Ruth is risking sounding like she owns the campaign. She is the one with the conflict of interest, I mean if you support the campaign why don't you just support it, why does the support have to come with a price tag? The price being publicity and profile building. You will deny but that is what it looks like to me.

Higgins was trying to herd people on Saturday too. This shit has to stop.

The mission of this demo was to make life miserable as possible for the lousy labour delegates who sold their principles and the people of Ireland down the river for the kickbacks from the ministers merc,

This mission was subverted by the campaign, who agreed with a corral 50 yards away. We went with the mission and succeeded. For a couple of hours we took the smug smiles off their faces.

We PEACEFULLY pushed the guards aside. The guards were obstructing our free movement so as free citizens we had every right to push them in!!

There was no criminality as there was NO CRIMINAL INTENT. When we got in we just made a lot of noise and had some speeches. Tough on the collabos in Labour but that was the intention. No violence whatsoever (apart from the police pepper spray fool who sprayed other cops and the RTE man as well!)

Ruth, we did not go to listen to beautiful rhetoric. THis was not a debating society, It was RUIN THE LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE day.

And don't agree to atomise us or corral us again.

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