"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
Open Letter from Rossport Solidarity Camp to Superintendent Patrick Diskin: Stop stealing our stuff !!!
Supt. Patrick Diskin,
We are writing to request that you and the members of the Garda Siochana under your command, stop stealing our possessions. We also request that you and your officers stop the harassment and assaults that you have been engaged in with increasing regularity in the recent past. Though the most recent acts of theft and harrassment have mostly been carried out by members of the Gardaí on temporary transfer to the area, they occur with such frequency it can only be explained as part of a policy directed by you as Superintendent for the district. You seem to have instituted a policy where the harassment of campaigners against Shell's Corrib project has become normalised within Gardaí that are stationed here.
This letter is prompted by the events of Tuesday, 13th March, when a member of the Rossport Solidarity Camp was walking in Pollathomais. He was on his way to do some gardening for a friend in the village, and was walking to a neighbour in order to borrow a pick-axe. At the time he was carrying a hammer which he also had hoped to use in the garden.
He did not get the chance to use the hammer, because Gardaí driving past stopped and the hammer was then stolen by Garda GA566. No receipt was given by the Garda when stealing the hammer. The camp member then chose not to borrow the pick-axe from the neighbour fearing that it too would be stolen by Gardaí.
About two hours later on the same day, this time in Aughoose (about 4km from the first incident) another camp member was also in the process of going gardening and had just left the camp carrying a spade. Again he was harassed and threatened that the spade would be taken from him. However, this time he managed to escape from the Gardaí still with the spade in his possession, though after the incident he chose not to do the gardening.
Gardening is an activity that much of the camp engages in with the local community, and as such is important both to us and many people in the Aughoose-Pollathomais area, helping as it does, to bring people together. Something that hardly be said of the attitude of a number of the Gardaí who seem to think they can treat the local community with disrespect.
This is an example from just one day of the harassment that has become a regular feature of our interactions with the Gardaí under your term here. While in the press you have been quoted as saying that you respect the “right to peaceful protest”, the actions of you and the Gardaí under your command put a lie to that purported respect.
Recently Gardaí have increased their harassment to people leaving the field where the camp is currently located in Aughoose. Usually citing no law (or occasionally inappropriately using the Public Order Act), people have been stopped and held around the camp entrance for indefinite time periods. This amounts to illegal detention, interfering with people's free passage, misuse of Garda powers and on some occasions assault.
Gardaí have also pulled camp members from their bikes as they cycled and generally disrupt camp members going about their business. By and large, no laws are quoted by the Gardaí to justify this behaviour. Gardaí have also begun entering property that is being currently used by Rossport Solidarity Camp, without any authority to enter those properties being produced. Again, this general harassment happens on such frequent occasions by different groups of Gardaí that the only explanation is that they are carrying out orders issued by you as Superintendent for the district.
The hammer that was stolen on the 13th of March is just the latest item of our property that has been illegally taken by the Gardaí under your term in Belmullet.
We therefore are also requesting the return of the following items that have been taken from us in the last year. No receipts were given in any of the cases.
• 7 bikes
• 1 hammer
• Kayaks and paddles
• A raft
• Banners and placards
• Caravan (taken in a joint operation by the Gardaí and Mayo County Council)
Please reply stating whether you intend to return our property or not, and if so when will it be returned to us.
Rossport Solidarity Camp
Initial Response from Supt. Patrick Diskin
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Diskin, Patrick
Date: 26 March 2012
Subject: RE: Open Letter from Rossport Solidarity Camp to Superintendent Patrick Diskin - Stop stealing our stuff !!!!
To: rossport solidarity camp <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rossport Solidarity Camp
Dear Rossport Solidaity Camp,
Thank you for your correspondence which i received today.
I am making enquiries regarding the issues that you have raised. I will revert back to you in course.
As regards the property which is alleged to have been seized, i would be most grateful if you could provide additional details as to the date the property was seized and the identity of the person it is alleged to have been seized from. This information would be most helpful in checking property records.
By way of information all future correspondence should be forwarded to Belmullet.DistrictOffice@garda.ie
Looking forward to an early response.
Patrick Diskin, Superintendent.
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