Property developer Joe McNamara has said he will stop his protests after his prosecution for parking a cherry picker truck outside Leinster House was dropped today.
Mr McNamara (aged 41), who has been dubbed the Anglo Avenger, had been charged at Dublin District Court with dangerous driving on the morning of December 7 last, hours before former Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan made his Budget speech.
The Achill-born builder, with an address at Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Co Galway, who reportedly owes Anglo Irish Bank €3.5m, had parked a cherry picker emblazoned with protest slogans at the gates of the Dáil.
Following his arrest on December 7, he had initially been remanded in custody but later that day was released by order of the High Court. He then made several court appearances and his case had been adjourned until today pending directions from the DPP.
When the case was called, defence solicitor Mr Cahir O'Higgins told Judge William Early: “I understand the application of the State is to withdraw the charges.”
“Mr McNamara is asking me to say that he is appreciative of the fair and sensible approach adopted by the State and he regrets any inconvenience or any waste of State resources,” Mr O'Higgins added.
Judge Early said he was marking the charges as withdrawn and added “strike out.” Mr McNamara, who came forward when the case was called, was not required to speak during the hearing and then left.
On the steps of the courthouse, he issued a statement through his solicitor. Cahir O'Higgins: “Joe is just anxious to say that he is very relieved that the charges have been withdrawn. He thinks it is the right result.
"He had never intended any level of criminal action or activity whatsoever. His protest was always about discontent with the way the country was being run, the way he had been treated.
"He was just anxious to make that protest in a lawful, peaceful but yet sensible manner and that is something he has achieved.
"He wants to thank everybody who has been extraordinarily supportive of him in a very difficult time and now he just wants to get on with his life and he hopes things look up for him and look up for Ireland."
A relieved, Mr McNamara then spoke quietly to add: “No more protests,” and he thanked his solicitor and his legal team for their assistance.
This was the second time he has escaped censure for criminal charges brought against him arising out of his protests at Government buildings.
In March he was acquitted of criminal damage and dangerous driving in connection with an incident in which a cement lorry, with the words “Toxic Bank” and “Anglo” in red letters painted on its sides, was driven at the gates of Leinster House on September 29 last.
In that case, the court heard that Mr McNamara was exercising his constitutional rights to express opinions.