Gardaí investigate repossession protesters’ takeover of courtroom

Gardaí in Limerick have begun an investigation into last Friday’s takeover by protesters of a court at which house repossession cases were being heard.

County registrar Pat Wallace was dealing with more than 170 civil bills for repossession of houses. He had to abandon the sitting, which descended into chaos after about half the list had been dealt with.

Garda reinforcements had to be called in to remove more than 150 people from the building. One garda on duty in the courtroom has been unable to return to work due to an injury he sustained.

Supt Derek Smart of Henry Street Garda Station said yesterday: “A sergeant is now carrying out an investigation into all the circumstance of what occurred. If that investigation finds there has been a breach of the law, we will then proceed with a file for the DPP.”

The trouble began when one man approached Mr Wallace on the bench waving a sheet of paper. As he continued to harangue Mr Wallace, gardaí removed him.

Others in the public gallery then started to shout abuse at the gardaí.

As the situation developed, groups walked up to where solicitors for lending institutions were seated and began to hurl abuse at them.

Within minutes, a group of more than 100 took over the courtroom and Mr Wallace rose and left.

As gardaí tried to calm the situation, the level and intensity of abuse worsened and more insults were shouted at gardaí. When Mr Wallace returned to say the hearing was not proceeding any further on Friday, the protesters cheered and began to sing Amhrán na bhFiann.

Most of those involved in the protest were not defendants in house repossession cases, and had travelled from Mayo, Waterford, and other parts of the country.


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