Special Branch attention turned on student activists

By Kevin Brannigan

A young Dublin based student had his trip from his parents’ home to college interrupted recently when he found himself in the back of a Special Branch car being whizzed off to spend a day answering questions in a south Dublin Garda station holding cell.

The first year student (who wishes to remain anonymous) had recently joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and had also become involved in anti-fees campaigning. During his day in custody in February he was asked questions relating to Free Education for Everyone (FEE) activities and was told by one of his interviewers that newly elected ULA TD Richard Boyd Barrett had links to ‘dissident’ Republicans. He was also being questioned about anarchist and republican groups and shown pictures of himself in Dublin city centre and on student marches.

Such activity is not new to the Special Branch which has a long history of taking a keen interest in student activists and youth wing members of non-establishment political groupings. Among other recent incidents was a visit by Special Branch to the parents of a former member of the Communist Party of Ireland linked Connolly Youth Movement “to fill them in” on the young political activist’s activity.

 Article published in LookLeft Vol.2 No. 6


  1. And did he make any contact with a lawyer, or family? or get any paperwork relating to his detention? Did he put it up to the Member-in-charge to justify the custody? If so, one what grounds did they ‘justify’ holding him? And I thought they’d need less of this type of thing, now that people are so carelessly putting their info and their friends info on Facebook. People should know their rights and not be afraid to assert them with the cops. The more they think they can intimidate you, the more they WILL use that tactic. Fear is a tool used to control.

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