Dublin: Attack on freedom of speech – DCC impose ban on leaflets

By Stephen Rigney

Under anti-litter legislation, Dublin City Council litter wardens have begun enforcing a ban on handing out leaflets in the city centre area.  While this ban has been pushed as a reaction to litter on the streets of Dublin, the ban is also politically motivated. 

Inability to distribute leaflets on the streets will cut across community and workers’ campaigns and smaller political parties being able to organise public events, anti-war demonstrations and to generally distribute political material.

The fact that the Council has not take any steps against the fast food companies or delicatessens, who’s packaging contributes to the majority of rubbish on our streets is further proof of the political nature of this ban.

The council has previously used anti-litter laws to cut across campaigns, as in 2003 when they introduced a ban on postering in Dublin City to prevent anti-bin charges and anti-war meetings being organised. While the ban on postering has been relaxed, it still has an effect on making it difficult for campaigns and parties, who don’t have the huge resources of the big parties for professional advertising, to organise successful public events. The leaflet ban will only further increase these difficulties.

Leafleting and postering played a crucial role in organising the 100,000 strong anti-war demonstration in February 2003 as well as the mass meetings of the anti-ban tax campaign. The council and government both fear that more demonstrations and campaigns like this are on the way, as young people and workers’ struggle against the attacks on wages and conditions of workers, cuts in healthcare and the continuing use of Shannon airport by the US military.

This undemocratic ban must be opposed by activists, workers, young workers and those involved in the socialist movement.

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