Water protester accused of assaulting Garda appears before court

Water protester accused of assaulting Garda appears before court

By David Raleigh

An anti-water-charges protester, charged with assaulting a detective garda during a protest outside a Fine Gael party meeting which the Taoiseach was attending, has been remanded on bail.

Joseph Shanahan, (aged 63), of St Michael’s Court, Watergate Flats, Limerick, is accused of assaulting Detective Garda Pat Whelan, who was on duty outside the Greenhills Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick, on November 24 last year.

The anti-water charges protest, which attracted a few hundred people, was organised to coincide with a visit by Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was attending a private party function at the hotel.

Other senior Ministers attended the event, including local politician and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

There was a heavy Garda presence at the event in light of the large crowd of demonstrators who had turned up to protest over water charges.

The Taoiseach and Minister Noonan were both taken out of a rear door at the hotel by Gardaí and put into a waiting vehicle to avoid the large sway of protestors that had gathered at the venue.

Mr Kenny, his fellow TDs and other party members were booed and jeered by the crowd on the night.

It is alleged that Mr Shanahan "struck Det Garda Whelan a blow in the ribs with his elbow", shortly before 10pm as the detective was escorting a member of the public through the crowd of demonstrators.

Mr Shanahan's solicitor said there were still "certain matters outstanding", and requested disclosure of CCTV footage from the State.

Sergeant John Moloney, Henry Street Garda station, said statements had been furnished to the defence.

He said CCTV footage which had previously been requested from Mr Shanahan's solicitors had yet to be provided by the State.

Judge Marian O'Leary ordered the disclosure of the CCTV footage from the hotel on the night in question.

She remanded Mr Shanahan on continuing bail to appear before Limerick District Court again on October 7 for a plea or a date for hearing.

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