A property developer was charged in court this morning with criminal damage after a concrete mixer truck was driven against the gates of Leinster House.
At 7.45am yesterday, a few hours before the Dáil was set to resume, a cement lorry, with the words “Toxic Bank” and “Anglo” in red letters painted on its sides, was driven against the gates of Leinster House causing minor damages.
Other slogans emblazoned on the truck said “All politicians should be sacked” and “€500k for golf”, in relation to the amount spent by the bank on golfing paraphernalia over a three year period. The registration plates were also changed to read “Bankrupt.”
Joe McNamara (aged 41), of Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Co. Galway, was arrested at the scene and brought to Pearse Street Garda station where he was held for questioning under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
He was held at the garda station over night and appeared at Dublin District Court this morning.
Dressed in a cream jacket, blue jeans and white shirt, evidence of his arrest was given to court by certificate by Garda Sergeant John Egan.
Gda-Sgt Egan said there was no objection to bail providing the defendant, who remained silent during the case, agreed to two conditions: “to stay away from Government buildings, in Dublin 2, and stay away from Anglo Irish bank at St Stephen's Green.”
However, defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins submitted to Judge Patrick McMahon that his client was exercising his rights under section 40.6.1 of the constitution.
This section of Bunreacht na hEireann guarantees liberty to express freely convictions and opinions as well as to assemble peaceably and without arms, subject to public order and morality.
“I make the point that my client asserts his innocence in respect of this matter,” said Mr O'Higgins.
Judge McMahon decided that instead the bail condition that the defendant would be subject to was “not to come to unlawful attention of gardaí.
Mr McNamara was remanded on nominal bail of €200 to appear again on November 25 next pending directions from the DPP.
Judge McMahon also consented to an application from the defence for disclosure of the prosecution evidence in the case.
Outside the court, Mr O' Higgins said his client had been exercising his constitutional right to express his convictions.
"Joe wished to make a legitimate protest at what he believes to have been his unfair treatment at the hands of the banks," said Mr O'Higgins.
"There are now criminal proceedings in being arising out of an incident yesterday, as you know. He wishes to be respectful of those proceedings by making no further comment."