A couple of further ideas for action

We’re all working on our postcards by now (I hope).

(Forgive the school-marm sternness: it’s in honour of Casby’s pedagoguery, I promise).

So a couple more ideas that have been floating through the ether:

(a) Via email, one suggestion has been to organise a silent protest gathering – at Dáil Éireann or at Government Buildings – with everyone wearing white Cowen t-shirts, plugs white gags or blindfolds.

(b) Unfortunately, it has transpired, however, that Allan Cavanagh’s t-shirts have been pulled from the website selling them. But we could turn it around:

T-shirt making!

As soon as we’ve finished making our postcards, and sent them to Fústar, we could get cracking on the Tees.

Might improve the community spirit, too, if people were meeting up to make them (though that could be optional – home-made t-shirts would be fine, I’m sure!)

Any ideas on either of these suggestions?

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7 Responses to A couple of further ideas for action

  1. Niall says:

    Everybody who has gotten their knickers in a knot about RTE’s apology should realise that the manner in which RTE News reported the story originally set a more dangerous precedent for news coverage in this country than the subsequent apology.

    RTE News exists to report events factually and seriously, as dull as that may be, not to become a satirical entertainment programme for the purpose of amusement. Why no protest about RTE starting to cover news with a sarcastic nod and a wink tone? That’s a more insidious and slippery slope, I believe.

  2. clickyhere says:

    To be honest, I think opinion on the RTÉ apology seems to vary from being irritated to being angered.

    It’s the subsequent involvement of An Garda Síochána which is the deeply sinister development.

    So far, a cursory legal analysis (based on the information available through the media), is that there are no criminal charges to answer at all; the fact that incitement to hatred laws and indecency laws have been invoked is an appalling abuse of power, in my view.

    It means that any artist or satirist is potentially at risk of being targeted by the “powers that be” (the words of the investigating detective who attended Today FM’s studios).

    The implications are very, very serious.

  3. Niall says:

    If I went into the National Gallery and hammered a painting onto the wall for my own gratification I would expect to be interviewed by the Gardai, and more than likely charged with a criminal damage or public disturbance offence. It would be astonishing if the Gardai hadn’t been called in by the National Gallery given the breach of security. Are you suggesting everybody should be entitled to walk into the National Gallery and hang their pics on the wall?

    I am sure no charges of indecency or incitement to hatred will arise from this.

  4. clickyhere says:

    A news report today suggest that he didn’t hammer a painting into a wall; even if he did, however, one legal opinion is that the law ought not to pursue an act of hammering a nail into a wall: a minor act, in relative terms, for the costs and resources required to investigate and prosecute.

    Moreover, it seems that the National Gallery did in fact report the matter to An Garda at the time (several weeks ago), but it was only on Tuesday – after the Sunday Tribune and RTÉ News reports – that the artist was questioned under caution, and on Wednesday that a detective visited Today FM (advising that he may return with a warrant, when a request for information was refused).

    The National Gallery is a public space funded by public money, and it’s arguable/debatable as to how far our ownership of that space goes; however, I don’t think anyone is advocating criminal trespass – the abuse of powers and heavy-handed response is what seems to be concerning most people.

    Breaches of indecency and incitement to hatred were among the avenues of investigation, according to Wednesday’s detective, together with criminal damage.

  5. Niall says:

    The matter had already been reported to the Gardai before the RTE broadcast so it was only a matter of time before the artist was questioned. The fact that the trip to Today FM’s studios came after the coverage is actually a circular argument: Gardai wouldn’t have had a possible lead to uncover the artist’s identity if he hadn’t been spurred on by the coverage to appear on Ray Darcy’s show. To me it sounds like good policing to follow up on a lead in a police investigation whenever it arises.

    That the Guards finally got their finger out regarding the investigation and did so in a typically clottish heavy-handed manner are all quite believable without any government interference having to come into it.

    As for the avenues of investigation cited, it sounds like a typical case of the Gardai blowing hot steam without thinking and making themselves look foolish. Again, that’s not proof of government interference.

    It may be arguable how far ownership of public space goes but the artist didn’t argue. He took it upon himself to dictate how the National Gallery should be used without any democratic consultation with anybody.

    There are many public spaces funded by public money – libraries, hospitals, swimming pools – that doesn’t mean I can organise a drinking party in any of them whenever I like just because I pay my taxes. The stewards of the National Gallery are charged with running it for the benefit of the people.

  6. clickyhere says:

    On a point of information: the Ray D’Arcy show on Today FM was contacted by the artist on 19th March 2009, but was not pursued as an item for the show. This was also prior to the reports by the Tribune (22nd March) and RTÉ News (23rd March) – neither of which mentioned Today FM.

    On the morning of 25th March, the Ray D’Arcy show explained the visit to their office by the detective from Pearse Street Garda Station, the fact that they did not release information to the detective, and the fact that the artist contacted them on the 19th. This was the first public reference of the artist’s contact with Today FM.

    It was revealed on the afternoon of 25th that the artist had been questioned under caution on the afternoon of the previous day.

    In short, whatever leads An Garda had, was not due to the D’Arcy show’s coverage, nor any other media coverage.

    Also, saying that something “sounds like a typical case of” is not proof of anything, government interference or otherwise. The sequence of events regarded objectively, however, is revealing.

    The artist’s lack of “democratic consultation”, as you put it, resulted in an unflattering paintings being placed in public places; it did not call into question the powers of the State.

    I don’t think that an attempt at political critcism or satire can be compared to organising a drinking party in a public place.

  7. Niall says:

    Okay, so somebody tipped off the Gardai that he’d contacted Today FM. I doubt if Brian Cowen could have known this so he couldn’t have been the one to sic the Gardai on the radio station. Kind of spoils your theory that it could only have been Government-orchestrated a bit.

    “The sequence of events regarded objectively, however, is revealing.”

    Of what? Your tendency to jump to conclusions?

    If I cough and it starts to rain I don’t assume my coughing changed the weather. Concurrence is not the same as causality.

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