Cork council meeting abandonded after Shell gardaí compared to B-specials
A Cork city council meeting ended in disorder and was adjourned by the chairman on 27 November after a councillor refused to withdraw comments comparing An Garda Síochána's behaviour at the Shell protests in Mayo to that of the B-specials in the North and Thatcher's militarised police force during the 1980s mining protests.
Socialist Party councillor Mick Barry had put down a motion at the meeting which opposed the mobilisation of 200 gardaí from Cork to the Mayo protest area. During the debate on the motion, Mick Barry said the behaviour of the gardaí in Mayo compared to “the actions of the militarised police Thatcher mobilised against the British miners in 1984/85 and the actions of the Northern Ireland B-Specials in assaulting civil rights campaigners in the late 1960s.”
There was some disorder from the Fine Gael benches in relation to these comments and the chairman of the meeting, Lord Mayor Michael Ahern of the Labour Party, asked Mick Barry to withdraw the comments or he would adjourn the meeting. Mick Barry refused and the council meeting was adjourned without the motion being voted on.
Michael Ahern defended adjourning the meeting, saying: “The language used was intemperate and it was certainly unfair to compare the gardaí to a sectarian, disgraced and disbanded force. We do allow motions on national and international matters but we expect the language to be temperate and fair. You can't let somebody put down whatever they want and say whatever they want.”
Fine Gael councillor Dara Murphy, who was also present at the council meeting, says: “He should have been asked to leave, it was a disgrace, a total prank.”
The next council meeting is to take place on the 11 December, where Mick Barry says he will be “insisting” for a vote on the motion. He is also challenging the Garda in Cork to reveal how many gardaí from Cork have been redeployed to Mayo. He says: “We have hardpressed communities on the northside of the city, many are plagued with antisocial behaviour and crime, and we are always told Garda resources are needed and now we have gardaí being deployed to Mayo.”