No citizen’s right to protest ?

No citizen’s right to protest ?

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A little clarification for people who believe their citizen’s right to peaceful protest is protected under the constitution. This is not strictly true and this subtle misconception could be causing some problems with the Gardai.

No right to protest ?

As far as the State and the Gardai are concerned you don’t have a right to protest under the constitution. You see the word protest is not mentioned anywhere in the constitution. What is mentioned in the constitution is (peaceful) assembly [Article 40.6.1 ii]. Hence if you are holding a peaceful assembly you are in accordance with the citizen’s rights under the constitution.

However if you say to a Garda, with your hands in the air, that you are a “peaceful protest” they take that to mean you are in breach of the peace, as that is the essence of a protest. However illogical that may sound to you that is how their logic works when doing their job and interpreting your rights.

So it might be advisable to avoid vocalising the “peaceful protest” claim, and instead stick to the “peaceful assembly”, or if asked if are you protesting either do not respond, or respond that you are simply expressing your opinion [article 40.6.1.i].

Additional protection

It might also be advisable to look at strengthening your position with a few more articles of the constitution first:

40.3.1 – “The State guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.” – hence they cannot legislate away you rrights.
and
40.3.2 – “The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen.” – (see later re: your dwelling)

– This is your starting point to ensure all subsequent rights are adhered to by the Gardai, as follows:

40.1 – “All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law”. – So ensure they apply this to Irish Water equally.

40.4.1 – “No citizen shall be deprived of his personal liberty save in accordance with law.” – You are not breaking a law peacefully assembling and so should not be arrested.

40.6.1.i – “The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.”

But this is the kicker

40.5 – “The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law.”

The problem Irish Water now have is that the Water Services Act 2013 clearly states in Article 20 that they can only fix meters to premises that contain dwellings, and as you haven’t broken any laws your dwelling remains inviolable and outside their reach.

“20.— (1) The functions of each water services authority under paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of section 32 of the Act of 2007 shall, in addition to being performable by a water services authority, be performable by a metering authority in so far only as they relate to premises that contain one or more dwellings…”

Remember, your dwelling land (in the land registry) extends from the centre of any alley behind your house to the centre of the road in front of your house, and furthermore you can remove the right of access to that dwelling if you so choose and deny the right to set up a temporary work area.

If you are ignored by the meter installers at this point you can make an official complaint of criminal trespass to the Gardai, who should caution the meter installers to leave the land (if the Gardai are doing their job properly). If the installers continue then the Garda should arrest them; but you must make the specific complaint.

If the Gardai fail in this duty you should make a complaint to the relevant ombudsman.

They will probably try and wriggle out

Now if Irish Water, or probably more likely the Gardai, say they are on a public footpath then they still cannot install a meter because if they do they are in breach of the Water Services Act 2013, because it specifically states they can only install meters on dwellings. Public areas are prohibited by virtue of them not being included in the Act. Remember anything that is not specifically included in a legal document is therefore excluded. You must make this clear to all parties and Gardai and demand they apply the law.

The key to this is making the right requests and using the right language with the Gardai to get the response you want.

Using a stronger constitution

The articles listed above are from the 1937 blue book, the English version, however these articles are noticeably weakened from the original text which was written in Irish. It would be beneficial to all to insist on using the direct literal English translation of the Irish version to afford more protection.

It should be noted that the constitutional text in both official languages is authentic. Article 25 provides that in case of conflict between the enrolled texts, the Irish language text prevails. Here is an example of how the literal translation is stronger:

ARTICLE 40.3.1O AIRTEAGAL 40.3.1O

LITERAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION
The State guarantees not to interfere by its laws with the personal rights of any citizen, and it further guarantees to defend and assert those rights with its laws in so far as it is possible.
ENGLISH TEXT
The State guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.

An unfair contract

What with the inequity being meted out by the judicial system during the meter installation, it is interesting to note that Fine Gael’s Water services Act 2013 itself looks pretty tame, simply setting out the legitimacy of the new company, but people are forgetting that the real meat of the Act was legislated back in 2007 by Fianna Fail, and it is a very inequitable piece of legislation.

Just looking at section 8 it is awash with any number of different fines, charges, offences and prison sentences they can level against citizens, with fines up to €15,000 and 5 year prison terms. Then you look at section 29 and you find the Minister, the water authority and any of its agents are indemnified and immune from claims or prosecution; and this indemnity has been extended to Irish Water and its agents in section 23 of the 2013 Act.

It seems everything that comes out of the Oireachtas is a stick to beat us with and a free pass for those pulling the strings. This is typical of the political system we live in and the only way we are going to change this is to elect DDI candidates who will put the people back in charge and give them the right to vote on whether state boards should be accountable or unaccountable, like we see here.

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22 Comments

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    Tadhg

    The stop cock and piping that goes onto the footpath to which they will install the meter is part of the dwelling, you are also saying that the dwelling extends onto the center of the road in front of the house – where is that set out in legislation? Either way under the 2007 water services act they can only install the meter on your dwelling “i.e. the stop cock/water pipes” with the owners consent. Can you verify that? Hence if thats the case people do not need to protest, nor do they need to stand and block the IW workers – they simply need to call the guards, before IW do and quote the law to the guards making in clear that they are unlawfully trespassing and doing works on your property (the water mains/piping/stopcock) without your consent. The other point to make is that many of the contractors may not have a permit to do works in the area (this permit must be shown to you in advance), They must also have id. They must also have a safety officer or rep to oversee the works. If none of that is in place again they are acting unlawfully.

    • Posted January 18, 2015

      Admin D

      Exactly right sir, it can be done peacefully with words and paperwork

    • Posted January 18, 2015

      Paddy Powerless

      You’ll find confirmation in the Family Home Protection Act (interpretation section “Dwelling”). This refers to any land, garden, driveway etc., coming under the definition of dwelling.

      Irish Water also like to quote Section 22.2 (c), which authorises them to enter any PREMISES, but do NOT mention section 22.3 (directly after this) which states that no Water Authority SHALL enter the private dwelling of any person without their consent or a court order. Cherry picking what suits them.

      Then there’s the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2002. Section19c makes it clear that bringing any object onto land that prejudicially affects any amenity is an offence. Clearly, a meter that will force a contractual obligation on you and force you to pay a second time for water prejudicially affects that amenity (water supply).

      But are they attaching it to your land? Arguments about boundaries aside, when asked what a boundary box is, the Commission for Energy Regulation’s FAQ states that it is a container which is attached on one side to the public mains and on the other to the supply line TO YOUR HOME. I think that’s clear.

      Here’s a link to a pdf which maps out most of the issues:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/jrs0kbdtpo214ft/Break%20Irish%20Water%20III.pdf?dl=0

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    Vin host Peoples Internet Radio

    Excellently written article with some erudite and cogent points regarding the direct literal translation of the Constitution. It clearly carries way more importance than many may realise. I thank the author for this article and will do my utmost to share it far and wide and I encourage others to do the same.

    Kind regards Vin ( http://www.peoplesinternetradio.com )

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    Tadhg

    The fact that multiple areas of legislation show that they are acting illegally and both the government and all sitting TDs know this (don’t pretend to me that the cabinet ministers and their advisers don’t know the legislation) shows that this is a conspiracy being intentionally perpetrated by the government against the people, for the benefit of Denis O Brien and his private companies..

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    Jack spa

    If this is true could someone with a few more brain cells than I not produce a little 1 page cheat sheet to be quoted to the gardai while on camera
    with the intention of lodging a complaint with the ombudsman

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    kevin doyle

    is it possible to have a legal representitive on hand when irish water turn up to
    do the installation

    • Posted January 19, 2015

      Admin D

      Good idea, and to have legal notices ready to hand out

  • Posted January 18, 2015

    Tony Pratschke

    Some valid reasons why citizens should speak Irish and get rid of the national paranoia about Gaeilge and language learning in general. Rediscover what the founders of the State knew what was needed but lacked the wit, the nous, and yes, the belief in what they professed and the courage to implement. Successive governments and most Dáil members would be rid of Gaeilge and all it represents because it represents the challenge of what a Gaelic once aspired to and of what we might have achieved. There is still time to change all that. Be the change that you want to see. Let us start now when the real questions are coming into the open. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine. We live our lives by protecting one another!

    • Posted January 19, 2015

      Admin D

      You are correct, the State wants rid of Gaelic and to prove that the gaelic version of the 1937 constitution is extremely hard to get, as is the literal translation. thankfully we now have the internet

  • Posted January 19, 2015

    Graham

    The tide is quickly turning, the rats will be washed out to sea, I love that statement Tony (we live our lives protecting one another) the Irish have never lost anything when we unite. We will win back our rights and our sovernity.
    Stand together Ireland, we will be the starting point on changing the world into a better place for our children and grandchildren, the end is near and a new beginning will blossom. Well done DDI.You will get my vote again
    Love
    Peace
    Happiness

    Truthseeker

  • Posted January 19, 2015

    cormac

    i study law,this is the most simplistic interpretation of the constitution i have come across,stop spouting this rubbish!your leading people down the garden path!

    • Posted January 22, 2015

      Aisling Murphy

      Fair enough, then spell it out in a less simplistic but coherent manner, or is that too difficult for an as yet unqualified student of law? Dying to hear your informed view.

    • Posted January 22, 2015

      Admin D

      I’m afraid if you are studying law nowadays you are not being taught correctly for the very reasons we see on the streets today with partial Gardai and judges trampling people’s rights and not carrying out their duties with fairness and equity. Your education is deliberately skewed to support this misuse and abuse of law.

      A constitution by its very nature must be simple and not open to interpretation. Anyone who tries to reinterpret the constitution to anything other than what it actually says is only doing it for nefarious purposes.

      This is because the constitution is a set of limitations on the State. A State is only what is “stated” in the constitution and nothing more. If it is not in the constitution the State cannot do it because it has no people’s mandate to do so. that is how constitutions work.

      You however are being taught that legislation can trump a constitution when this is completely untrue. Much legislation is legislating away rights that are supposed to be protected from the State by the people’s constitution. this is the criminality of the State and you are being taught this is normal and acceptable. Well it isn’t it is criminal full stop.

      Perhaps you were not aware, because most of the population are not either, but what the government did not reveal about the Lisbon Treaty is that it imposed Napoleonic Administrative law on Ireland, the type of law that does not have Habeas Corpus, or the tenet that you are innocent until proven guilty. It also allows detention without charge and decisions made by judges instead of your peers. if you visit court now you will see this all the time.

      This however is only because the people have not been informed that they still have the choice of our normal common law jurisdiction and so fail to demand it.

      This is the perversion of our law that the current crop of law students will never understand because they have never learned real law, only modern administrative law statutes
      .

  • Posted January 20, 2015

    Ben

    A huge question remains here. There are many people who are migrants, but have not renounced their former citizenship , for various reasons. The right of free movement throughput Europe is one of them. They work, pay taxes, own property, marry Irish citizens etc. Are they considered citizens? Do they have a right to free assembly under the constitution?

  • Posted January 20, 2015

    Aido

    could be a good idea for a “peaceful assembly”, the assembled holding placards with one of these constitutional quotations each..

  • Posted January 24, 2015

    john.h

    I have been watching a lot of youtube videos showing people resisting water meter installation. When asked by the home owner if they have a permit to dig or any other meaningful paperwork they can never produce it. If the limits of the DWELLING extend to the middle of the road, then surely irish water require permission from the home owner to interfere with anything in that area. Since a lot of home owners will refuse to give consent to have the meter installed, is this perhaps why the contractors can never show a permit to dig when they show up.

    • Posted January 24, 2015

      Admin D

      Not exactly, when you buy your land you register it and in that process you lien back a public right of way (road pavement) for access and services. if you want to rescind that lien to specific parties you have to do it by legal notice for clarity. All administrative law is paperwork you see, if it doesn’t exist on paper then it cannot be seen by a court

      • Posted January 24, 2015

        john.h

        thanks. That sounds perfectly sensible. Where would i go to register the fact that I dont want irish water digging up the foot path outside my house.

        • Posted January 24, 2015

          Admin D

          You could try sending them a legal notice advising them

      • Posted January 24, 2015

        Tadhg

        Can you explain that point? the land owner liens back the right of way to the footpath where the stopcock is. So it means they are not trespassing on the foot path i assume? But does it also mean they have the right to dig in that area?

        Second question whats the scenario if you are a tenant in a house owned by someone else e.g. a landlord that one doesnt know personally. Do tenants have any rights as occupiers of the house?

        • Posted January 24, 2015

          Admin D

          Technically you should have he legal right to remove right of access to anyone who you consider is trespassing, IE Irish Water interfering in the use of your home or your utilities, imposing an unwanted contract or unhealthy device etc. However as a tenant that right belongs to the owner, except for your right to bodily integrity at risk by the emissions of these smart meters or the risk of tampering with your water, or your privacy. As a tenant you are the occupier and so you will be the one contracting if you so wish, your choice of course. The landlord is not responsible for water bills while he has a tenant living there so he can rest easy

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