Ireland, since the foundation of the State, has maintained its neutrality in international wars everywhere. A cynic might quip that even if we took sides it would make no difference anyway.
At the time of the First Gulf War though the Americans approached our Government and asked for refueling facilities at Shannon Airport on our western seaboard. Once granted, it meant that troops and arms could be flown directly from the States to here, top up with juice in Shannon and fly on to the sands of the Middle East.
One proviso of the deal though was that all those aircraft had to be unarmed and this was patently not the case. It was not so much that the Yanks flouted us but they just couldn't take a provision like that seriously. They were heading for war for fuck's sake. But the law's the law and soon the complainers were gathering around the perimeter fencing at the airport to protest the weapons of war using this neutral soil to further their aims.
Two of those protestors were Clare Daly and Mick Wallace who went on to run for election and are now part of the 166 bozos in the Dail. So far, so good, you might say. But on one of their protests back then, they got up close and personal with one of the American aircraft and a claim was made that the plane was slightly damaged. Justice took its course and the two TD's had their day in court where they were duly fined a few of grand each but they refused to pay.
Fast forward to yesterday and both miscreants were arrested and taken to Limerick jail for a couple of hours before being released. A lift in a squad car from wherever you are in the country to the jailhouse wherever it is, is followed by a two-hour cup of tea with some prison officers, and this is what passes for a jail sentence in Ireland (2015) Ltd. Mick and Clare now have a criminal record and many useless hours of uniformed time were spent on the farce.
Clare Daly spoke on this video about the idiocy of it all and I must say, I agree with her. She repeated her defiant stance on not paying the fine and it has also been pointed out that technically, "She has done the time," so the fine is satisfied by her two-hour incarceration. Meanwhile in a Journal poll asking if we support the stand against paying the fine 58 per cent said no, they didn't support Mick & Claire. I often wonder about this hang 'em-flog 'em brigade. Overflowing with pompous self-righteousness they surface regularly calling for everyone else to be punished. They seem to want their neighbors outed and humiliated any chance they get while bending the fawning knee to our corrupt politicians at the same time. Law and order, they will tell you, is something to be used against us all and harshly imposed at that. "Lock 'em up," is their mantra.
In a previous posting I highlighted the fact that over half the inmates in our jails are there for not paying debts. In the main, this is a penalty for the crime of being poor. When you are imprisoned for not having money then you know you live in an economy and not a society. Ireland has ceased to be a society of course and worse than that, we've ceased to be either a Republic or a Democracy.
Joan Burton came out this morning suggesting that fines should be deducted from earnings if someone refuses to pay a fine. For those who do not know, she is our assistant prime minister and laughably, head of the Labour Party also. In the case of Mick and Clare's conviction, the so-called damage to the aircraft was either was minimal or didn't happen at all. The real reason they had the book thrown at them was because they deigned to protest and embarrass the Government. Whether you are protesting against armed Yanks in Shannon, gas pipelines in the West or water charges everywhere, you risk the heavy hand of the law from the massed thin blue line.
What has emerged is that a few elected cronies can pass any law they wish and if you think it unfair and object publicly, they'll get you back with a fine or a prison sentence. Joan Burton has now added to that the fact that they'll steal your money if they want to just to cause you pain for daring to object. This is not Government by consensus it is naked fascism. Government here will point to their bad laws and smugly state the majority supports them. In reality, the majority live in fear of opposing them and that is something quite different.
The logistics though are very simple. There are one hundred and sixty-six sneaky bastards in the Dail, thirty or forty thousand Gardai and Soldiers and four point five million of us.
It will not end well.