Eyewitness reports of Garda violence at South Dublin County Council, on 11 February. Photo: Paul Murphy MEP being arrested by plain clothes Gardaí.
Campaigners against the property tax — who staged one of a number of peaceful protests at Councils today — have questioned why Gardai at South Dublin County Council used brutal and unnecessary force against them, including some plain clothes Gardai. Cannisters of pepper spray were also waved at locals who were manhandled and handcuffed. One is currently being kept in Tallaght Hospital for observation of his injuries.
Aaron Nolan (aged 19, now in hospital):
“I was standing in front of Shane Donnelly when one of the uniformed police pulled me to the ground. I stood up and tried to get in front of Shane again. A stocky man, with a light blue hoody, who I thought was one of the protesters, grabbed me and pushed me against the wall. He then grabbed my head with his two hands and smashed my head against the wall. I fell on the ground and when I was on the ground, he choked me with his two hands. I was dazed and unable to stand as he handcuffed me.”
Eddie Ericsson, Tallaght :
“Why does it seem like the police were prepared for a confrontation? Are tactics like this what is to be expected to intimidate normal working class people into accepting austerity?”
Pat Waine, Greenhills:
“The heat of working class anger was felt by Labour party councillors when anti-property tax protesters took the fight to the South Dublin Council Chamber. Ordinary householders peacefully protested at the Council meeting causing it to be abandoned.The police wielding pepper spray used heavy handed tactics to remove protesters. Householders were thrown to the ground and handcuffed in the council chamber in an appalling attempt by the police to bully protesters into submission. Our resistance to these unjust taxes will continue and intensify.”
Phil Foster, Tallaght:
“We were holding a peaceful protest in the council chamber when two Gardai arrived, followed by plain clothes and uniformed Gardai. They grabbed Paul Murphy (MEP) and Pat Waine and threw them to the floor. One Garda put his knee into Paul’s back and neck. He grabbed his hand and made a fist shape of it and pushed it into the floor to put immense pressure on Paul’s fingers and knuckles. Paul shouted out in pain. The other Garda had Pat’s hands handcuffed behind his back and was kneeing him in the back and ribs. I’ve never seen anything like it before, neither had any of the other people there.”