Gatecrashers bullied me out of cuts meeting
PUBLISHED: 15:22 09 March 2011
I must contradict the football crowd invaders who colonised the Town Hall public gallery on February 17.
It was necessary to call in the police! An Islington resident, there to ascertain what was happening with Sotheby Mews, I was bullied out of the gallery by these self-centred, self-promoting gatecrashers.
Warning was given several times that the gallery would be cleared if behaviour did not improve. The council had little choice but to resume the meeting elsewhere.
Because I asked that I be able to hear what officers and councillors were saying, it was assumed that I was supporting cuts and I was violently turned on with “No Cuts” being yelled in my face and noise-creating instruments deliberately pushed to within an inch of my face before being vigorously used!
I have encountered anti-social youth gangs who have had more empathy for their victim! The behaviour of these people has worked against those opposing the cuts.
When Councillor Janet Burgess, who helped secure over £50,000 of funding for Sotheby Mews, rose to speak, two men in the gallery immediately targeted her as a woman and started yelling abuse!
The public gallery was treated as a picnic area by some and used as a bin for their food scraps.
Partially deaf and very shocked, I emerged into the clean air just as the police arrived. I doubt if any of these people who made it impossible for residents to exercise their democratic rights, have actually put in any meaningful work in the last few months, on behalf of the funding for individual groups.
Ten years ago I sat in the same gallery and witnessed the Liberal Democrat majority massacre the voluntary sector to enable them to claim they had reduced Council Tax. Throughout their reign, they ran a campaign closing down day centres for the elderly and buildings used by the disabled and vulnerable. In contrast they squandered £96,000 on a flower wall, £49,000 on unnecessary Blackberry phones, £90,000 on advisers and £15,000 on a theatre group to show officers how to answer the phone.
That night the Lib-Dems had already positioned the police in the public gallery before the public were allowed access. Without need for them, the police left within an hour. – Róisín Ní Corráin, N1.