31 August 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Anti Austerity Alliance Councillor Mick Barry (pictured below) this morning called for the disbandment of the Garda special investigation unit established to spy on the activities of anti water charges campaigners.
His call came after last Friday’s DAILY MAIL newspaper ran a page one story which said that the unit – codenamed Operation Mizen – has been focussed on Dublin up until now but will shortly be upgraded to a nationwide operation.
The MAIL reported that the unit has been in existence for six months, is led by Detective Sergeant Jim Gowan the husband of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and has focussed on “monitoring the protesters, compiling profiles and gathering intelligence on their whereabouts”.
The report also indicated that elected public representatives have been targeted by Operation Mizen including Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy.
Pressure on the Government on the water charges issue increased further at the weekend as more than 50,000 people took to the streets of Dublin in a national demonstration calling for the abolition of Irish Water, the scrapping of water charges and an end to austerity policies.
Cllr Barry said this morning: “This special investigation unit should be immediately shut down and all other kinds of political policing brought to an end.
Garda resources should be used to defend and assist communities trying to cope with crime and anti social behaviour not to spy on anti water charges campaigners and ordinary people standing up to Government policy. The Gardaí should be answerable to the people and to our communities rather than to a political establishment and to a Government which is trying to burden those communities with further austerity.”