"Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"

Our apology to Gene Kerrigan for taking this extract from his article 'The tax laws are now a la carte, for some' in last Sunday's Irish Independent.  However, it is a good analogy for what the State is prepare to do, to abuse a 17 year old Irish student in pursuit of underlying agendas.  It has dragged a youth through the judicial system,  a jury less court and convicted him with 'false imprisonment'.  It was the first case in a series of cases against the Jobstown protesters.  

 Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

There's been a bit of a war going on, between the shameless bastards and the rest of us. Not an all-out conflict, just guerrilla actions here and there.

In recent days we've seen groups of organised labour attempting to win back some of that which was taken from them over the past eight years.

Bus drivers, teachers and gardai used limited industrial action to try to retake ground conceded following the bailout of bankers and builders.

Another area of conflict has been the Irish Water scandal. This erupted when Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour sought to produce a revenue stream from the water supply, which could then be privatised.

This sneaky and always-denied strategy was stymied by a grassroots revolt, people from all around the country who knew they were being scalped.

One of the consequences of this conflict popped up in the courts on Thursday, when a juvenile who took part in a protest against Minister Joan Burton was found guilty of "false imprisonment".

I read Independent.ie's report of the judge's summing up of the prosecution evidence. Sorry, M'Lord - I don't see the imprisonment, false or otherwise, but no doubt you are wise and good.

The civil disobedience tactic of the sit-down protest has been well-chronicled, from Gandhi through to Martin Luther King, in civil rights and labour struggles. An Irish court has now reconstituted this act as "false imprisonment". The credentials of the juvenile involved were given to the court and he seems uncommonly public-spirited, usefully engaged with his community. He's had the full weight of State power dumped on him over the past two years.

Some day someone will write an academic study of the precise steps taken by the State to bring all its forces to bear on what seems to have been the mild actions of a 15-year old.

For now, we can only quote the conservative journalist William Rees-Mogg, in turn quoting Alexander Pope. Rees-Mogg used Pope's phrase when commenting on the UK State's overbearing effort to jail Mick Jagger: "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"

The late Judge Adrian Hardiman, who died suddenly seven months ago, was often critical of journalists, and some of us returned the favour. But from his early days as a lawyer he had a genuine concern about the tension between the power of the State and the rights of the individual. What a pity that, should the "false imprisonment" appeal reach the Supreme Court, we won't hear his views on this most unusual case.

While labour and community groups have had mixed fortunes in the conflict, it's widely understood that the rich are enjoying some sweet victories.

source: Irish Independent, Oct 23, 2016