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De Rossa "Sat On" after Labour party Meeting

category national | elections / politics | news report author Tuesday April 15, 2008 14:57author by garryowen Report this post to the editors

Scuffle after Lisbon Treaty Meeting

It has been alleged that Proinsias De Rossa, who is due to retire as MEP for Dublin at the next election, was involved in scuffle outside the Labour Party Meeting at Liberty Hall in Dublin last night. The meeting was to discuss the upcoming Lisbon Treaty referendum.

Reports say that De Rossa tried to take a video camera away from someone who was filming him, in a public place, outside the meeting. In the scuffle he fell and while he was on the ground, somebody sat on him, it is claimed.

Younger readers may not be aware of the the long political journey of Mr De Rossa, who was once a strong supporter of the IRA, and spent time in prison in the 1950's.

De Rossa was politically active in Sinn Féin from an early age, and was interned in the Curragh from 1956 for three years as part of the crackdown on activists involved in the IRA Border Campaign. He had carried the coffin at the funeral of Sean South, the young IRA Volunteer who was killed by the RUC while attacking a police barracks.

Active throught he 1960's, he took the 'Sticky" side in the split of 1970, and supported the Official IRA who carried out bank robberies, extortion and killing of political and military opponents. He was then a member of the Workers Party, then split from them to form his own group, Democratic Left, finally joining the Irish Labour Party, for whom he is an MEP.

De Rossa was the only Irish MEP to vote to support a recent resolution of the European parliament to ignore the result of the Lisbon Treaty referendum if it resulted in a "NO" vote.

While Mr De Rossa is no stranger to supporting political violence against others, he claims that the scuffle he was involved in last night was the worst of his life. He is reportedly still too upset to speak about the incident.

Mr Joe Costello TD , who was at the public meeting, said on RTE radio: "“He was certainly very put out. I never saw him in such bad form that he was really hurt by it al.”

author by nnnpublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 16:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Link to RTE report on this-

author by nnnpublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 17:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to this report the gardai took statements from the people involved-


Mr Gilmore said that when Mr De Rossa left the meeting at about 10.30pm he was confronted by a group of men, some of whom were at the meeting.

“One of the group shouted abuse at him through a loud-hailer,” Mr Gilmore said in a statement released this afternoon.

“When he objected to being filmed by one of the group with a camcorder he was knocked to the ground and some of those involved sat on his back pinning him to the ground.

“The Gardai arrived and took statements from those involved. Proinsias suffered minor abrasions and is quite shaken by the assault. “

author by tomeilepublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There may be some confusion going on in the Irish Times report .
It seems unclear whether Mr de Rossa was "sat upon " ,as Eamonn Gilmore reported , or "set upon " as Joe Costello said.

author by lab85seopublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 20:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I attended the meeting.

I am against the proposed constitution and intended to speak out for a no vote. Unfortunately the chairperson lost control of the meeting from the outset. A noisy and menacing clique took over proceedings and genuine opponents and proponents were prevented from presenting the reasoned arguments which each side wished to make.

What happened at this meeting and afterwards has done the "no" campaign no favours with the electorate. The last thing we need is to be associated with thuggery. My fear is that people who were capable of persuasion by the many good arguments for voting "no" will now see the "antis" as the "political wing" of a violent fringe.

It is vital that the people who disrupted the meeting and attacked De Rossa are isolated, removed, and prosecuted like any other criminals.

Luckily I had my mobile with me and I was able to photograph one particularly vociferous disrupter at the meeting. Lo and behold, I was able to take another photo of the very same young man assaulting a semi-prostrate De Rossa. My mobile has been put at the service of the Gardai. Assault is a criminal attack upon the community, it is not a private matter between De Rossa and his assailant. Irrespective of whether De Rossa wishes to prosecute or not, it is hoped that on behalf of the community the Gardai will prosecute the people who broke the law and violently tried to prevent their fellow citizens exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression.

is mise

author by Donpublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 04:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On behalf of the law obiding citizens, thank you. I'n no fan of De Rossa's politics but he is a yes campaigner however.

author by lypublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 07:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's peculiar, if this is such a clear cut case, why the gardai did not make any arrests at the scene.

There appears to be a different version of events than the one we are hearing so strongly from Labour Party sources, about an unprovoked assault on De Rossa happening out of the blue.

Other witnesses say the MEP was trying to take the camera from the hands of somebody who was filming, and the only way they could restrain him was to sit on him. This version, shouted down by De Rossa supporters, seems to be at least as plausible as the unprovoked assault claims made by others.

In fact, in the light of the fact that there were no arrests, and de Rossa did not need medical attention, the restraint story seems MORE plausible than the assault story, at least in my opinion.

author by Malachy Steenson - ACRA publication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:03author email malachyst at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having attended the meeting, it was clear that the Chair, Niamh Breathnach, had no control. Those in the audience who continually interupted where not no campaigners, and their interuptions had little if anything to do with the treaty.

The main interuptions were a man who went on about immigrants, in his usaul rasist rant, and a lady who went on about a rannge of issues drifting in and out of an American accent. These two individuals are regular attenders at centre city meetings and are well know to political activists. These could have easily been dealt with by the Chair. Perhaps the problem was that Ms. Breatnach and Labour leaders (with the exception iof Joe Costello) generally don't bother speaking at advertised open public meetings.

As regards the incident outside, the individuals involved were unknow to all on th NO side, and before leaving the meeting we had discussed amonst ourselves who they were. I had initially thought they were from Labour Youth, and indeed Niamh Breatnach said she had thought the same.

These individuals were videoing the proceedings, omething which I have no difficulty with, though some members of the audience, mainly Labour mambers had an issue, there was a heated discussion for a number of minutes.

Whilst the chair did not close off nonsencial speakers did did attempt to shut down gebnuine contributors, in my own contributuion I had to remind her taht teh meeting had got under way at 8.10 it was now 9.10 and she had said it would end at 9.30 and it was only now open to the floor.

She alos stated to another speaker that you knew what you were coming to, were all an the yes side, its a yes meeting not a debate.

In relation to the incident outside this stemmed from a question De Rossa was asked inside in relation to the EP vote to ignore the wishes of the Irish people, he gave a fudge of an answer.

The same individuals asked him on camera the same question, he told them to grow up and tried to grab the camera, a tussel ensued and he ended up on the ground. The whole incident took seconds.

Whilst DE Rossa claims a friend of his rang the Garda, in reality a Garda van was passing and teh lads with teh camera ran over and called it in. The Garda then took names.

The youndg lads who have the video should put it on utube as it will speak for itself.

This incident will be used by the YES camp to try a defeat the NO side, as they know they, particularly Labour, who are leading the campaign for the Government that they have lost the argument with the public.

author by North Strand says NOpublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good comment. Nice to hear from someone who was a genuine witness. No doubt Labour will now try to pour scorn on this account, and we'll be treated to heart-rending tales of Prionsias's distress at meeting his constituents, and having to answer questions on why he voted to ignore the result of the referendum, something which even FF and FG MEP's avoided doing.

The incident is getting more coverage on Joe Duffy etc than the story of the leaked memo outlining how the government plan to keep the electorate in the dark about the treaty . It is almost as if they want us to talk about De Rossa rather than concentrate on the other story.

So in the interest of people getting the maximm information on what their government thinks of them- here is the extract of the leaked memo which was published today:

The text of the controversial e-mail from a British civil Servant who is writing to her bosses in London, after a briefing by Dan Mulhall, director of the EU division in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, about the Lisbon Treaty referendum:

"The draft, largely incomprehensible to the lay reader, had been agreed following lengthy consultation with government lawyers and with the political parties.

"The bill would enter parliament in the second week of April and it would probably take two weeks to go through and be passed around 22 April. The minister for the environment would thus be entitled to set an order naming the date for the referendum between 30 to 90 days of the order being made. Technically, the Taoiseach and Ahern saw a slight advantage in keeping the no campaign guessing. 29 May was the assumed date in working plans.

"Mulhall said a date in October would have been easier from a procedural point of view, but the risk of unhelpful developments during the French presidency - particularly related to EU defence - were just too great. Sarkozy was completely unpredictable.

"The only other unhelpful event the Irish thought might impact on the May vote would be a WTO deal based on agricultural concessions that could lead the powerful farming association to withdraw its support.

"I ran through the UK parliamentary ratification timetable and noted that the referendum vote on 5 March would be a particularly sensitive moment. Mulhall remarked that the media had been relatively quiet on the ratification process so far. We would need to remain in close touch given the media crossover.

"Mulhall said other partners - including the commission - were playing a helpful, low-profile role. Vice-president Margot Wallstrom, who had been in Dublin yesterday and today, had told Dermot Ahern that the commission was willing to tone down or delay messages that might be unhelpful.

[extract published in some national newspapers]

author by Ronan Kelly - RTE Radiopublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:35author email ronan.kelly at rte dot ieauthor address RTE Radioauthor phone 01-208-3438Report this post to the editors

Hello -

I'm working on "Liveline" and am interested in speaking with anyone at the meeting in Liberty Hall on Monday night and who may have witnessed the incident involving Proinsias de Rossa. What actually happened? Call Ronan on 01-208-3438

author by J Kpublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 15:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was in attendance at the meeting and fully agree with Mr Steenson's points. What struck me forcefully, was the manner in which the chairwoman let people rant on about irrelevancies, coupled with personal problems and called time with alacrity upon the likes of Mr Steenson ,who was speaking 'to the point' and making very valid contributions. In the case of the latter speaker, he had to hold his ground and argue with the chair before he could continue to make his points.

Mr De Rossa waved aside a point re Valery Giscard Estaing, who had stated that what before would difficult to read ie The Constitution, will now (Lisbon Treaty) be impossible to understand, by saying that he, Giscard Estaing was "an old man in his eighties or nineties".

All in all it was woefully handled and clarity was the victim, along apparently with Mr DeRossa, I hope he is alright, the persons concerned done no service to the No side.

author by Malachy Steenson - ACRApublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 16:25author email malachyst at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Workers’ Party have organised a meeting on Lisbon

LISBON - A Treaty Too Far!
Public Meeting, Annesley House, North Strand Road, Dublin 3
On all bus routes from city centre towards northside

Thurs. 17th April- 7.45pm
Padraig Mannion
(Workers Par ty, Campaign Director)
Malachy Steenson (ACRA)
Joe Costello TD (Labour)
Nial Ring (FF)
Chair: Michael Finnegan, The Workers Party


author by No to Lisbonpublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 18:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ronan, while you are posrting on indymedia.ie, nmaybe you'd tell us why LivelIne think this story is more important than the leaked memo outlining that the Irish govt wants to rush through the referendum and fight it on irrelevancies, rather than debate the issues? Surely that's more important than this scuffle outside Liberty Hall, the like of which you see outside many a pub and nightclub every night of the week?

It's like RTE would prefer to distract the population wiuth this nonsense than deal with the big story of the leaked memo.

author by Socratespublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 23:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Attended the Labour party Lisbon Treaty forum the other night. Thought the guy filming was an obnoxious prat. I'm against the treaty and I hope the idiots that perpetrated this situation are proud of the damage they have done to the No camp. The meeting was a disaster with little or no control from the chair. I hope there is some focused organisation from all no campaingers in the future. The Yes camp is all singing off the same hymn sheet and in perfect tune. Unless the no camp gets it act together and presents it arguments in a serious manner then we will not be taken seriously.

See you out there!

author by Observerpublication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I attended the meeting on Monday night. The reason I went was to hear the Labour Party view on the Treaty and to find out why they are advocating a Yes vote.
I was quite annoyed when I saw the meeting was being filmed and presumed at first that it was the Youth section of the Labour Party who were doing the filming. I then learned that that was not the case. The young yobs with the cameras were asked by the meeting to stop filming. There was a vote taken and he majority of people in the room voted that the filming should stop. The yobs who were filming continued to film and said they didn't care what the majority thought - we couldn't stop them filming. Their contempt for demcocracy was alarming and these are the people who have the brass neck to tell us that the Lisbon Treaty is undemocratic!! I found their behaviour to be totally obnoxious.
As a neutral observer I believe that a number of No campaigners turned up to disrupt the meeting. To be fair to Niam Bhreathnach there were people there to cause as much disruption as possible and she was damned if she did and damned if she didn't.
I found the No campaign's behaviour on the night to be very rude. They said that they were interested in debate but in reality the majority of them were only interested in shouting abuse and slogans at the panel and not in really debating the issues. The presentations at the meeting informative and must say I was not convinced by the No campaign tactics of heckling and shouting abuse. That said there were one or two contributions that would have been interesting to pursue but the behaviour of others prevented any kind of dialogue.
I did not see the attack on Proinsias de Rossa, but from the behaviour of the yobs inside with the cameras I would find it hard to believe that they were restraining him.

author by To lypublication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 08:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Other witnesses say the MEP was trying to take the camera from the hands of somebody who was filming, and the only way they could restrain him was to sit on him. This version, shouted down by De Rossa supporters, seems to be at least as plausible as the unprovoked assault claims made by others."

Since when do you restrain someone by sitting on them, for fock's sake!

Why didn't they just take a few steps back IF...IF DeRossa was annoyed - that's what a normal person would do.

Just violent retards.

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 09:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

De Rossa was to attend the Lisbon Treaty debate at UCD and could not make it no doubt due to his traumatic experience.

author by Malachy Steenson - ACRA publication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 09:48author email malachyst at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

De Rossa said on morning Ireland that he has left the next morning at 5am for a flight to Brussells, so he was'nt going to be in UCD anyway.


I would suggest that there were only about 4 people there from the NO campaign and we all attempted to debate the issues. Those were, the two brothers from SWP, Vote NO.ie etc, one speaker from CAEC and myself.

There was no shouting down or abuse from us. Those with the cameras were un-known to us, and had not attended any previous meetings, in general between the four of us we would know most attenders at meetings on various issues.

We don't know what their agenda was but we can say that they are not helping the NO side.

Perhaps they are covert YES campaigners.

author by me - -publication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Video footage of what happened has been put up on the WAC website. Although the lads with the camera are clearly very up-front with their 'questioning', De Rossa is the person who made it physical.

De Rossa tripped attempting to sieze a persons camera.

Video here:


author by NUJ memberpublication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 13:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a query

author by The Insiderpublication date Thu Apr 17, 2008 22:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wonder why?

If you've nothing to hide you should show it.

author by What????publication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 03:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am as yet undecided on the Lison treaty and as such I take on board what both sides have to say on the subbject.

Those that attended could be yes campaigners trying to blame the no camp, I find this as plausable as the no camp deliberately causing such a negative incident but as the No camp have stated on numerous occasions that these people are unknown to them I believe the troublemakers were exactly that. Simple people out too cause trouble.

On what happened outside, well regardless of who got physical first why do people believe they have a right to shove video cameras in peoples faces? What happened to personal space and privacy? more importantly, how would they feel if this was done to them?

DeRossa had every right to stop these people from doing so and I would do the exact same if I was him.

As for the Gardai, considering both sides were claiming assault and neither side wishes to make a complaint there was no reason to arrest anyone.

author by paul o toolepublication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the camera was not in his face as is made plainly obvious if you look at the film, and any assertions that it was is rubbish . All you can see is his back then his the side of his face.
He makes his grab and goes down. If thrtr was anything to be done surely De Rossa would have pressed charges when the cops arrived at the actions of the 'attackers'... distractive hype, the whole thing.

author by Epublication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We can debate the issue surrounding De Rossa all we want and whether he was assaulted or not, to be honest it is irrelevant. My point that I would like to make is that We are Change are a far right ultra nationalists group who believe in conspiracy theories and should not be entertained on indymedia.ie.

If they were filming me I would have taken the camera off them and tossed it in the Liffey.

author by Marechal Mac Loolahpublication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

De Rossa is by his own free choice a public figure, an elected Member of the European Parliament, accountable to the people of Dublin in this regard. He was attending a public meeting at Liberty Hall concerning a matter of major political significance at EU level.

Now I'm all in favour of personal space and privacy and if he had been off riding some floozie, snortin' some controlled substance, shagging some young lads in the Himalyas or enagaging in some other such questionable behaviour in his own private space and time I would say that video cameras would have been well out of order. Look what happended to poor ould Max Moseley.

But under the circumstances (public representative attending a public meeting) I see no valid objection to video cameras being used.
These people are supposed to be accountable - it's one of the alleged underlying principles of their so-called "democracy". Have you checked out an MEP's salary (not to mention expenses). They are well paid for their little bit of suffering and if their skins aren't thick enough to endure a few video cameras WHEN THEY APPEAR IN PUBLIC then I hear that the enclosed religious orders are suffering from a severe lack of vocations these days so they know where to apply.

Just for the record I sent an e-mail to Rossa on the same subject (his vote in the EU parliament) and never even got as much as a reply not to mind an acknowledgement. A significant number of other MEPs did have the courtesy to reply and voice their opinion on the matter. So what excuse has Mr. De Rossa got. I suppose he'll say now that his wrist is sprained and he can't work the mouse .....

author by What?publication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 21:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So what were saying is that attending a public debate removes a persons right to privacy and personal space AFTER the meeting has taken place? and as a result a person can follow you down the road shouting the same question over and over, making demands of you and recording it all against your wishes?

are we then to conclude that by attending the same meeting you would have no problem if you were followed home and heckled. Maybe a nice cup of tea for the people surrounding our home?

Well that is not the kind of free society I wish to live in and I think you will find the majority would agree with me on this one. Especially considering how many people feel that 'big brother'is invading personal privacy with public CCTV.

regardless of occupation a person has A fundemental right to go about their business without interferance or their personal space being invaded which is clearly what took place here.

Also you are not entitiled to film a person if they specifically ask you to stop or they are forced to change direction or take an action as a result of the it.

author by Marechal Mac Loolahpublication date Fri Apr 18, 2008 23:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"are we then to conclude that by attending the same meeting you would have no problem if you were followed home and heckled."


Nr. 1: I am not a public representative. If I attended a public meeting it would be in my capacity as a private individual.

Nr. 2: I didn't vote against a motion calling for the European Parliament to respect the outcome of the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and subsequently refuse to give an account of my actions in that regard. De Rossas actions in that context are not the actions of a private individual but those of a public representative. He is accountable to the people of Dublin on that score. If he doesn't want to answer questions about his actions in the European Parliament, then he could also consider another course of action like resigning his mandate.

author by WAC are wackopublication date Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

WAC Ireland appears to be an offshoot of WAC UK.

When interviewed by US conspiracy theorist talk-show host, Alex Jones, they were confused with WAC UK. Looking at their website (where you can see and hear this stuff), they fall for the usual fallacy that everything is part of a vast interlinked conspiracy, that includes fluoride in water, and a plan by the incipient “World Government”, in the words of Alex Jones, to "exterminate 80% of humanity" – worse than Hitler then!

People gullible enough to confuse the real problems of the Lisbon Treaty with such craziness are bound to be useless to the campaign to defeat it. Their trajectory is toward right-wing conspiracy. I noted that one of their problems with Irish society is that we have "uncontrolled immigration” – so said a spokesperson on the Alex Jones radio programme (the same guy who has a go at Gerry Adams (see below). They are probably careful to keep some of their wilder theories under check, but a tour through their website lets a few nutty right wing theories out of the bag.

With the de Rossa they clearly hit the jackpot, because the guy can't take criticism. He is aggressive and arrogant, as the video of him going for the camera operator clearly shows. De Rossa can't bear to answer why he voted to undermine Irish sovereignty in the EU parliament. In truth, he does not believe in Irish sovereignty, but he can’t bear to admit it. He does for the ‘Yes’ side what the WAC[ko] group does for the ‘no’ side. They are well suited.

The WAC conspiracy theorists have no judgment. Look at the video of the ‘confrontation’ with Gerry Adams. The guy who thinks we have ‘uncontrolled immigration” asks GA if British intelligence have infiltrated Sinn Fein. “I’m sure they have”, says GA sensibly. After repeating this in a video stutter a few times, Mr “uncontrolled immigration” asks GA to comment on the claims by the well-known nutjob, Martin Ingrams, that Martin McGuinness was in the pay of the British. The WAC website quotes Ingram, “over 70% of their [IRA] bombings were commanded by British Intelligence”. If WAC Ireland believe that they believe anything. Their characterisation of Sinn Fein as ‘Sinn Fein IRA’ comes straight from the pens of apologists for British imperialism. In fact, on that, they are not too far from the views of Proinsias De Rosa. Maybe they should patch up their differences with de Rossa and get together on the North.

Perhaps British intelligence has infiltrated the head of Mr “uncontrolled immigration” in WAC Ireland. Perhaps WAC Ireland and WAC UK could have a discussion about it. Or perhaps WAC UK could tell the Irish boys what to think on the subject (BTW, who was that polite sounding English chap on the de Rossa video, referring to de Rossa as ‘sir’ in the tones hinting at imperial contempt. Note: this innocent observation is not a theory, please don’t put the word ‘conspiracy’ beside it).

In the Sinn Fein shop, where the GA interview took place, the video camera lingers on a bodhran with Che Guevara on it (interesting combination), and on a lapel badge that combines the starry plough with the Irish Tricolor (it is possible that that the camera operator confused the symbol of Irish socialism, the starry plough, against a blue night-sky background, with the EU ‘flag’). These shots were signs of disapproval, since WAC Ireland was not there to do a positive promo for Sinn Fein.

WAC Ireland sound ‘radical’, but it is the radical right and not the radical left at work here. Their libertarianism is libertarianism of the right. Authoritarian and confused libertarianism.

WAC are wacko.

author by tomeilepublication date Sat Apr 19, 2008 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was an earlier thread about the Lisbon Treaty which was trying to prove that ratification could mean a back door re-introduction of the death penalty. It was coming from supporters of the views of Lyndon LaRouche . Like the WAC crowd , followers of La Rouche are obsessed by conspiracy theories about 9/11 . Whether the two groups are linked or not I don't know ,but they both seem to be undemocratic and unaccountable groups that tend to discredit the left wing by associating it with off the wall sort of stuff.

I agree with the posters who say that WAC did more harm to the NO side than to it did to supporters of the Treaty by their action outside Liberty Hall It also damged the generally respectful attitude of those on the left of Irish politics towards political opponents . Whatever you say about de Rossa ,he did attend a public meeting where he was prepared to defend himself politically .Whatever his past, he shouldn't at his age have to defend himself physically from four young men who were obviously out to get a rise out of him.

author by Cathal L.publication date Sat Apr 19, 2008 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

These type of conspiracist wackos have a long history especially in the U.S. A foolish, infantile belief that all major political and economic problems are caused by the plotting of the secret conspirators: the role of system, structure and institutions is ignored. They often adopt leftist language but are rightist in the interests they serve. A good source on such kooks is given by:

author by WAC are wackopublication date Mon Apr 21, 2008 08:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Whatever his past, he shouldn't at his age have to defend himself physically from four young men who were obviously out to get a rise out of him."

But it appears that the WAC wackos did not physically attack de Rossa - they annoyed him (he may have a short political fuse, yet to be decommissioned). De Rossa initiated the physical end of the altercation, it would appear.

author by tomeilepublication date Mon Apr 21, 2008 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"But it appears that the WAC wackos did not physically attack de Rossa "

You may be right about that detail, but it did seem to me like a provocation aimed at getting a rise out of de Rossa - getting him to react ,either aggressively or defensively, and then capture it all on video for WAC’s website. Tabloid journalists and infotainment television channels often operate along the same lines.

The fact that four young men accosted 69 year old de Rossa suggests a degree of intimidation . It may not have been actually physical ,but the four should have anticipated that their actions would be likely to place a man of de Rossa's age “under fear “ . Which would , I believe, count as an assault under Irish law.

It's not the legality of the actions that should be of concern though , so much as the political mileage that the Yes campaign could make out of this episode . The No side should publicly repudiate WAC . The groups disrespectful intervention at the public meeting sets a bad precedent as well . Do we really want such theatrical disruptions of political meetings to become the norm?

author by WAC are wackopublication date Tue Apr 22, 2008 02:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

OK Tom, but I wouldn't get too excited about them. There is no point in taking responsibility for something you are not responsible for. I wouldn't play the game of 'shun them, shun them, for they are unclean'. Just ignore, them, like de Rossa should have done (at 69, you would think he would have had more sense). Also de Rossa should not have voted to disrespect Irish sovereignty with his vote in the EU parliament. Let us not forget that...... Anyway, the 'yes' crowd won't be making any milage. The video makes de Rossa look foolish, and like the instigator. If the WAC wackos were politically unpleasant, well, that's not something de Rossa can have too many complaints about.

author by observerpublication date Wed Apr 23, 2008 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would ya go way with your "a man of De Rossa's age" nonsense! I've seen a lot of De Rossa recently and he's a fine healthy strong specimen for his age. He looks and carries himself like a man of 50 and I'm sure he'd be well able to handle himself.

The issue here is whether De Rossa was assaulted. And he wasn't. He was annoyed - different thing. If Michael Moore did the same thing to John McCain or George Bush and they physically lunged at him, would we be saying that Moore had attacked him? An assault requires a physical attack which this was not.

Stop feeling sorry for De Rossa. He's been well able to heckle people at meetings in recent months. He wasn't 'attacked' or 'assaulted'- that's just Labour Party lies.

author by Solidarity Foreverpublication date Fri Apr 25, 2008 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was at that meeting and found the carry on of those lads completely unacceptable.

As an active trade unionist and socialist, I went there knowing the Labour Party's stance on Lisbon, but wanted them to reconcile their stance with the neo-liberal agenda that is percolated right through the treaty.

Instead of myself and other bona fide NO contributors in the audience being able to ask the panel the questions about the treaty and put them on the spot in a manner that would force them to answer and maybe plant seeds of doubt in members of the audience, the panel was instead shouted down at every opportunity, so that any semblence of a debate became a debacle

They did no justice at all to the NO camp.

Granted it was a tough audience, but I felt it could have been chaired far better. The racist remarks from the audience should have been dealt with, although in fairness to Gilmore, I thought he did address the point rather well.

author by tomeilepublication date Fri Apr 25, 2008 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's very difficult for a chair to do anything against a concerted ,deliberate attempt to disrupt a meeting.

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