FEE (Free Education for Everyone) activists in Ireland involved in an occupation of Paul Gogarty TD’s offices (Green Party Education Spokesperson) in December 2008 have now been threatened almost a year later with “adult cautions” by the Gardai (police). This includes three members of the Socialist Party.
The occupation was a peaceful protest (pictures and story here http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90082 update here http://www.universityobserver.ie/2009/09/15/file-sent-to-dpp-over-fee-occupation/comment-page-1/) against the threat to re-introduce full third level fees. The threat of “adult cautions” under the Public Order Act is an attempt to intimidate these students to prevent them protesting again in the future, as well as to deter others from engaging in protest.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you regarding the student occupation of Paul Gogarty’s Office in December 2008 by the FEE (Free Education for Everyone) campaign for which the students involved are now being threatened with “adult cautions”. This protest at the Green Party Education Spokesperson to try to stop the re-introduction of third level fees was an entirely peaceful protest.
The threat to caution these students is an outrageous attack on their right to protest and an attempt to intimidate others considering protest.
I demand the removal of the threat of these cautions. All of the students in question simply exercised their right to protest and should suffer no consequences for this. The matter should simply be dropped by the Gardaí.
Adult cautions are something that is usually applied within days of the offence. The fact that this is now happening almost a year late is, we think, a result of pressure from Paul Gogarty TD to ensure that some punishment is given.
We are calling for emails and phone-calls of protest from people who are outraged at this assault on the right to protest, to demand that this matter is dropped. A model email of protest is below. Emails should be sent to: lucan_DS@garda.ie , email@example.com and copied to firstname.lastname@example.org . Emails should be marked “FAO: Inspector Pat O’Sullivan, Sgt. Paul Curtis & Paul Gogarty TD”.
Phone calls are much more effective than emails so we encourage people to ring these numbers (including Paul Gogarty’s mobile number!):
Lucan Garda station: +353 1 6667300
Paul Gogarty TD: +353 87 2752489
The time is short on this as the first students are meant to report to receive their cautions on Tuesday – so please do anything you can over the weekend, on Monday and on Tuesday morning.