Over the course of 2014, the Republic of Ireland saw a mass struggle against the imposition of water charges, with one of the most dramatic moments coming on 15 November 2014, when a car carrying the Tánaiste (Deputy PM) was held up for two and a half hours by a community protest. The state’s now trying to take its revenge – one 17-year-old has already been found guilty of “false imprisonment”, and starting in April, 18 adults will face trials for the same incident, looking at charges which carry a potential life sentence.
For anyone in Dublin, or the surrounding area, the Jobstown Not Guilty campaign will be holding a rally on 1 April; for the rest of us, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Jobstown Not Guily facebook page or main site to see what help might be needed. At the moment, they’re suggesting that people email email@example.com something along these lines:
Dear Tánaiste and Minister Fitzgerald,
I have become aware of the conviction of a 17 year school student for false imprisonment of former Tanaiste Joan Burton TD. I believe that this conviction and the fact that a further 18 people face trial related to protesting against water charges in the Jobstown community in Tallaght, Dublin is a disgraceful miscarriage of justice.
Sit down protests that delay politicians are a part of the fabric of democratic rights that people have won over many years. It is a very serious infringement of the right to protest that the Irish State and judicial system are pursuing these case, ‘a recipe for totalitarianism’ as the school student’s barrister called it and a criminalisation of protest and working class communities.
That people could face long prison sentences and that a democratically elected parliamentarian could be removed from parliament is outrageous. I demand that the conviction of the 17 year old be overturned and that the charges against the 18 adults are dropped immediately.