Anti Austerity Alliance denied collection permit due to protests

Paul Murphy TD accuses Chief Supt Orla McPartlin of ‘blatant political policing’

The Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA) was refused a permit to collect money because of its involvement in protests which led to public disorder, a Garda chief superintendent has said.

Chief Supt Orla McPartlin said the alliance had been involved in protests which had led to arrests, and some of those arrested were members of the organisation.

Ms McPartlin first refused the alliance a permit to collect in the Tallaght/Jobstown area last month. She cited her decision under section 9 (c) of the Street and House to House Collection Act 1962.

The Act states that a “chief superintendent shall not grant a collection permit for any collection in respect of which (s)he is of opinion that . . . proceeds of the collection or any portion thereof would be used in such a manner as to encourage, either directly or indirectly, the commission of an unlawful act”.


No further explanation

She gave no further explanation. Following a letter from AAA councillor Mike Murphy, Ms McPartlin elaborated on her earlier decision.

She explained: “Previous protests in my division, as participated in by the Anti Austerity Alliance, have resulted in persons being arrested for public order offences, and indeed some of those arrested persons were Anti Austerity Alliance personnel.

“The collection permit has been refused because I believe that the proceeds of the collection or a portion thereof would be used to facilitate protests sponsored by the Anti Austerity Alliance. I believe any further protests within my division would see further public order offences being committed.”

The letter was posted on the Facebook Page of Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy, who claimed it was proof of "blatant political policing".

He suggested the refusal by Ms McPartlin was related to the anti-water charges protests in Jobstown, in which Tánaiste Joan Burton was detained in her car for several hours. He said it had been leaked to the media that 23 people would be charged over the Jobstown protest, but “we’re still waiting”.

‘Nobody charged yet’

“Bear in mind that nobody has been charged yet over Jobstown, never mind convicted. Innocent until proven guilty - unless you’re trying to build an anti-austerity movement to end the rule of the 1 per cent?” he wrote.

“We will be appealing this blatant political policing all the way through the courts.”

Separately, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said Ms McPartlin’s decision was a matter for the officer involved.

“I wouldn’t second guess a decision of a chief superintendent,” she said. The alliance has three Dáil deputies, including Paul Murphy.

He is set to face criminal charges for his alleged role in a protest last November when Tánaiste Joan Burton has trapped in her car for several hours by anti-water charge protesters.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times