Water charges protest woman 'intends to lodge GSOC complaint'

Water charges protest woman 'intends to lodge GSOC complaint'
Screengrab via YouTube

A woman who was filmed being thrown to the ground by gardaí on Sunday has said she intends to lodge a complaint with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Fiona Healy - a member of the 'Dublin Says No' anti-austerity group - was protesting against water charges outside the Mansion House in the city centre when she was bundled out of the path of the Taoiseach's car by gardaí.

Footage of the incident, which appears to show Ms Healy being flung forcefully to the ground, in close proximity to a metal bollard on the footpath, went viral after being posted on Facebook.

Protesters had gathered at the Mansion House on Sunday to coincide with an event being attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Speaking on the Ray D'arcy Show on Today FM this morning, Ms Healey described what happened.

"I was actually stood back from the protest itself," she said.

"I actually thought Enda Kenny was gone in the first car, and I had just went across the road.

"It wasn't until I was on the road that I noticed that he wasn't (gone), and that he was actually in that car."

She admitted to banging on the car, saying the Taoiseach "just smiled" and she "saw an opportunity".

"It was a kneejerk reaction… I just happened to be beside the car so I banged on the bonnet as well."

She described what happened subsequently.

"There was one (garda) anyway, I know, that was there, and he was kind of about to pull me back a bit which was grand," she said.

"And then the other guard came around from over the bonnet and just thrown me to the ground.

"If it wasn't for… from what I can see in the video, the tall guard in the black, he actually pretty much saved my life I think.

"His knee seemed to have gotten hit by the bollard, not my head or anything."

"I'd like to say thank you to him because it could have been a whole lot worse."

Ms Healy said she didn't hit the bollard but believed that she struck the kerb, and was "black and blue" from the incident, having sustained "pretty bad" bruising to her right hip.

She also confirmed she would be lodging a complaint with GSOC over the incident and accused Gardaí of being "pretty rough-handed" in the course of this and other protests she had attended.

Gardaí earlier said that the Ombudsman had not yet received any complaints in relation to the policing of water charges protests at the weekend.

"An Garda Síochána respects the right to peaceful protest and will facilitate same," the force said in a statement.

"Gardaí attend protests to facilitate free movement of traffic and to any prevent breaches of the peace.

"If any member of the public feels that they have a complaint to make in relation to any Garda action they should reported the complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission."

Anyone with a complaint about Garda conduct at a protest should report the issue to GSOC, it said.

The Ombudsman is currently examining 16 complaints against gardaí relating to alleged assault and neglect of duty at anti-water charge protests, lodge prior to the weekend incidents including the one at the Mansion House and the trapping of Tánaiste Joan Burton in her car in Jobstown on Saturday.

Tallaght superintendent Peter Duff is compiling a report for Garda HQ on the Jobstown incident which will be studied by interim commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan.

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