Rage Against the Regime (RAR) is a not-for-profit, independent media platform, centred around a monthly event at Dublin’s Grand Social venue, that merges political debate and the artistic expression, including live music, poetry, film, comedy and spoken word. The topic for the next debate will be ’Don’t Drink the Water’ - Why does Ireland put fluoride in its drinking water?’ It will feature The Girl Against Fluoride, and take place on Thursday 11 July, 2013, from 7.00pm -11.30pm. The August 8th RAR will be on ‘The Future of Money’ – and will be chaired by Irish Times columnist, John Waters. There will also be an update on the Freedom of Information requests for ‘The Anglo FIle’ and all banking audio tapes, submitted to the Department of Finance organisers by of RAR, in order to facilitate public debate.
For more information call 087-132-3365 — email@example.com
RAR Calls on Public to Support ‘Standing Man’ Protest at Leinster House
A member of Rage Against the Regime (RAR) will stand outside Leinster House today, reading a book in silence, in support of the ‘standing man’ protest in Ireland, which began last Wednesday. The demonstration will begin at 3.00pm today, and continue every day, indefinitely.
Rage Against the Regime is calling on the public to join the ‘standing man’ protest outside Leinster House today, as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with Government, for whatever reason they like. The ‘standing man’ protest is also a form of solidarity with the people of Turkey, who started this new form of protest, in response to Government restrictions on demonstrations and freedom of speech. It was begun by a solitary man, performance artist Erdem Gunduz, who stood in Taksim Square and was soon joined by hundreds of others, leading to national, then international
replication. ’Standing man’ was begun on Wednesday by a number of people in Dublin, who stood outside Leinster House. However, it failed to get any media attention and draw wider public support, and was discontinued.
A spokesperson for RAR said: ”We are going to stand outside Leinster House every day, and encourage the public to join in.
“The vote in the Seanad for its own dissolution marked an ominous day for democracy in Ireland – and the most fundamental change to the Constitution since it was put into law in 1937. So we are going to read the Constitution, in silence.
“The ‘Anglo Tapes’ have elevated the level of outrage in everyday Irish citizens to new heights, and we are offering them a powerful and yet personal and dignified way of expressing their outrage over what is happening to this country.
The original video, entitled ‘Minister Howlin Tries to Grab Camera…’ shows the Minister being questioned by Paul Madden and Vincent Salafia of RAR, and then reacting angrily, clashing with a cameraman from a group called Dubin Says NO, who were filming the FoI submission. The Minister then appears to click his fingers at nearby Gardai, as he walks back to the Department entranceway, and grow even angrier when the Garda does not come running and intervene. Instead he walks past, and stands back.
The Minister has been severely criticised for his reaction in the thousands of comments posted on a range of web sites carrying the story, like thejournal.ie, broadsheet.ie, and politics.ie - where the stories are receiving a large number of hits, with the vast majority of people expressing comments of shock and dismay at the “aggressive” and “arrogant” behaviour of the Minister.
New Video of the Minister Emerges – Showing Lead Up and Context
The original video received some queries and criticisms, with some saying it was an incomplete video; that something was ‘hidden’, or ‘edited out’, because it doesn’t start until right before the Minister’s outburst. However, a new video of the same events on Monday has emerged, taken by a second cameraman, from another group called Reality Ireland, and it shows Minister Howlin before, during and after his interaction with the first cameraman.
The 8 min clip shows all of the events preceding the first 1 min clip. It begins with the event that had been organized for Monday at 1.oopm by RAR, which involved Paul Madden and Vincent Salafia submitting requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) for copies of the ‘Anglo File’ (relating to Anglo Irish Bank) and bank tapes to the Department of Finance. A press release had been sent out that morning, inviting the media to record the event. Large A1 posters of the FoI requests were printed and displayed, along with a large copy of Section 71 of the Statutes of Limitations Act. Two other groups came to film and record the event; Dublin Says NO, and Reality Ireland, but the regular media chose not to cover the event.
After the two interviews, the new video then shows Paul Madden entering the Department of Finance Reception area, and talking to the person at the reception desk – and submitting the FoI request, as planned, and without incident.
The new video then shows Minister Howlin emerging from the Department of Finance, with an aide, just after Mr Madden emerges, after making the submission. He is immediately questioned by Vincent Salafia, in a polite manner, about whether he was aware of the statute of limitations for fraud and that it was running out, which could mean some potential defendants would never be held liable for banking fraud. Minister Howlin simply ignores the question and walks away, towards Merrion Row with his aide. The video then shows Paul Madden him another question, further up the street, regarding whether or not there was an ongoing Garda investigation into Anglo Irish Bank or not. That is when the other camera is turned on, and when the Minister then lashes out. The clearly shows there was no assault or intimidation of any kind on the Minister, preceding the questions.
[Vincent Salafia (right) and Paul Madden of Rage Against the Regime (RAR) - submitting FoI requests before the Minister appeared]
Grounds for assault claim by camerman?
There has been a large amount of speculation, both in online comments and questions from the media, about whether or not the cameraman was assaulted by the Minister, and whether or not the cameraman would press charges. Many members of the public have suggested that the cameraman should make a criminal complaint. That is for the cameraman to decide, and RAR makes no comment on the validity of that proposal.
However, RAR does concede that the actions of the Minister could be interpreted by a reasonable person to rise to the level of ‘Threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place’, which is an offence under Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994. However, RAR has chosen not to make any formal complaint to the Gardai, under this section, and chooses instead to let the videos speak for themselves.
Statute of Limitations on Banking Fraud
The purpose of the event, before Minister Howlin arrived, was to highlight the lack of prosecutions for banking related crimes. Some commentators have noted that Mr Salafia is holding up a copy of Section 71 of the Statute of Limitations Act, 1957, concerning fraud, and stated that in their opinion this is not relevant to criminal prosecution of bankers. They say that banking fraud is ‘an indictable offence’, which means that there is no statute of limitations on the crime. That it exactly why RAR held up the Act concerning civil liability; because banking and financial institutions are subject to both criminal and civil regulations, and the civil sanctions often depend on evidence from criminal investigations, which they often follow. However, that has not been happening in Ireland, like in other jurisdictions.
Civil liability does have a time limit within which proceedings must be initiated in court– which starts to run when “the plaintiff has discovered the fraud or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it.” That period is five or six years, depending on the nature of the act. Given that the blanket bank guarantee of September 2008, and the actions leading up to it, many of which are described in ‘the Anglo Tapes’, occurred almost at least five years ago, there is concern that many people who should be held accountable will not be, because there has been no action taken by the Government and the authorities. Civil actions often follow criminal actions, but there have been only three criminal prosecutions so far, and no convictions. Civil liability could mean that many Institutions,and individuals, would be held personally liable for damages, and fines resulting from their actions or inactions – which could be used to offset the cost of the blanket guarantee. There are many other crimes beside fraud that need investigating, and the chain of liability could and should rise high in the ladder, in both State and private institutions.
Some commentators have criticised RAR for asking questions of the Minister on the street, in the way we did – and suggested that we should instead write to him, and ask him questions. That is exactly what we did, and he never responded to our email. RAR wrote to the Minister in late May, to invite him to speak at the inaugural RAR debate at the Grand Social, Dublin, on 13 June.
All political parties were invited to participate in a balanced debate, but the Labour Party did not even respond to our request. Many other parties did respond, and sent representatives to participate, including: the Communist Party of Ireland; Fis Nua; former minister Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party; the Socialist Party; the Socialist Workers Party; People Before Profit; and the United Left Alliance. Fine Gael responded, but did not send a representative.
Media commentators such as RTE Presenter Eddie Hobbs (on behalf of Own Our Oil) and Trinity College Dublin economics lecturer Dr Constantin Gurdgiev responded to invitations and participated in the debate on resource nationalism on 13 June. It was also well attended by the public, anmd featured a number of artists. The next event will take place on 11 July, on the topic of fluoridation of Irish Water. Following that, on 8 August, Irish Times columnist John Waters will host a debate on ‘The Future of Money’. All parties are again invited to participate.
Howlin Video ‘Remixes’ broadsheet.ie and Youtube
On a lighter note, a number of ‘remixes’ of the original video have begun to appear on youtube. One video, entitled ‘Minister Howlin’s Jive Walk: The Remix’ was posted by broadsheet.ie last night. It was dubbed with the Gibbs Brothers, was later removed,a nd then returned. The description reads, “The flustered ministers, finger-clicking, walk of no shame from yesterday get its Gibbs Brothers on. Pleasantly Travolting.”
Another remix video response entitled ‘Minister Howlin Staying Alive’ was posted last night on youtube. Its description reads “Minister Brendan Howlin strutting down Merrion Street to the Bee Gees’ ‘Staying Alive’.” Other remixes are reportedly being produced.
Doorstep to Democracy Campaign
RAR members stand over their decision to persist in asking reasonable questions, in a reasonable manner, of Minister Howlin; particularly in light of his refusal to engage with us through other channels. We are acting in the public interest, and asking questions of national importance, that the public wants to know the answers to, in light of the partial release of the Anglo Tapes by the Irish Independent newspaper.
RAR is launching a ‘Doorstep to Democracy’ campaign and is calling for members of the public to ‘doorstep’ other politicians in both Government and Opposition parties, with similarly reasonable questions, in a similarly reasonable manner – and to record their responses for uploading to Youtube. The videos will then be viewed and debated at upcoming RAR events on 11 July and 8 August at the Grand Social, Dublin, and on our web site and Facebook group. RAR is also seeking other remixes of the video, as it represents the kind of interaction between politics and the arts that RAR is aiming to showcase.
For more information contact Vincent Salafia 087-132-3365 / firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on our Facebook Group or Twitter Page.
Rage Against the Regime (RAR) is a not-for-profit monthly event at Dublin’s Grand Social venue, taking place next on Thursday 11 July, 2013, from 7.00pm -11.30pm. The topic for debate will be ‘Don’t Drink the Water’ - Why does Ireland put fluoride in its drinking water? The debate will feature The Girl Against Fluoride, and experts on the issue, as well as members of various political parties. RAR is an independent media platform aimed at merging art and politics and encouraging open debate and expression in Ireland.
RAR is a monthly event, which will feature political debate, live and dance music, as well as a range of performers. It is essentially a supermarket of ideas; an open forum for political speech and artistic expression. Controversial topics of national economic, social and environmental importance will be featured and interested parties from all angles of the debate will be offered a neutral platform to express their views. NGOs, community and lobby groups, experts and academics, as well as political party representatives and independent politicians, will be invited to present their positions. Debate will be followed by live political music, comedy and performers, film, as well as dance music and video, taking place in three different rooms. The event will be fully interactive, and broadcast live on the internet.
PRODUCTION SCHEDULE | The Grand Social, Dublin
Each event at the Grand Social will feature three rooms, with activities taking place simultaneously in each room, from 8.00pm – 2.30am:
THE LOFT – The Loft is a gorgeously appointed room, with superb sound and a boho circus feel. It has a fully functioning stage for live acts and debate, with seating for 100, during the debate. It will feature high-end lighting and video presentations throughout the evening. The Timetable is as follows:
08.30pm – Political Debate
10.00pm – Live music
10.30pm – Dance music & Video
12.00am – Live Music
12.45am – Dance music & Video
02.30am – Close
THE GARDEN -The Garden is a huge outdoor area on the roof of The Grand Social, which features a retractible roof, and generous seating and standing room. It will feature live and pre-recorded music and video presentations throughout the night, which compliments the debate. The Timetable is as follows:
08.00 – Music and video presentations
09.30 – Singer-songwriter
10.00 – Speakers Corner
10.30 – Music and video presentations
11.30 – Singer-songwriter
12.00 – Music and video presentations
01.00 – Speakers Corner
01.30 – Music and video presentations
THE SITUATION ROOM: The Situation Room. located on the ground floor, is an intimate room, suitable for media interviews, group meetings, film screenings, and a range of other uses. Groups are encouraged to make suggestions for uses. The Timetable of events for the Situation room is as follows:
07.00pm – Media interviews / Organisational discussions
08.00pm – Introductory video to issue of the night by RAR
08.30pm – Video presentations – Provision of information by groups/NGOs/parties
10.00pm – Video interviews – Feedback from members of the public
12.00am – Midnight Movie – Film related to issue
01.30am – Video interviews – Feedback from members of the public
02.00am – RAR video – Upcoming events.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS | The Grand Social, Dublin
RAR aims to achieve a balance in covering current issues of economic, environmental and social importance. We welcome submissions and suggestions for upcoming events. The provisional schedule of events is as follows: