TD calls for breach of court orders

High Court gives suspended sentences to water protesters

Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy has called on the public to breach injunctions preventing protestors from going within 20m of contractors installing water meters and said he would be happy to break such an injunction myself.

The Dublin TD made the comment after three Dublin protestors were given suspended prison sentences for breaching a High Court order and were also made liable for costs in the case.

Paul Moore, of Mount Olive Grove in Kilbarrack; Damien O’Neill, of Greenwood Park in Coolock; and Terence Sheridan, of Kilbarron Park in Kilmore West had previously been ordered not to go within 20m of contractors installing water meters and not to interfere with the entrance and exit of the installation company’s vehicles.

However, the High Court found all three had breached the order of November 5. The court had, that day, granted an order to a water meter installation contractor, establishing the 20m exclusion zone around locations where its workers were installing meters in Dublin City.

GMC Sierra Ltd, which had a contract to install meters, had already secured injunctions preventing a number of individuals or anyone who had notice of the order from assaulting, intimidating or interfering with workers installing the meters.

Mr Justice Gilligan said that if orders of the court were breached or ignored in any way, it undermined the very fabric upon which our democratic society was built to the detriment of its citizens.

“As such, the authority of the courts must be respected,” he said.

“The court cannot simply stand idly by while those who defy its orders go free and those who seek its protection lose out.”

After the ruling, Paul Murphy said: “They are not accused of breaking any criminal laws but instead of breaking an injunction that was granted to Denis O’Brien’s company GMC Sierra, which is quite draconian, saying that people have to stay 20m away from water meter installation activity.

“Even completely and entirely peaceful protestors cannot be closer than 20m. It’s a very draconian injunction in the first place. And then it is clear that the suspended sentence has been given to try to intimidate them from participating in protests for a period of six months and to presumably send a message to others not to participate.”

Asked if it was his view that people should have the right to breach court orders he replied: “It is my view that people not only should have the right to do so, but in this case should breach this injunction. I think actually the fact the sentence was suspended indicates the court and the State generally is extremely nervous about jailing people for protesting against water meters. They know that if anyone is jailed on this issue they will have absolutely huge numbers of people on the streets.”

Mr Murphy told Today FM’s The Last Word that when court orders were designed to limit the right of people to effectively protest against water meters, “I think it is correct for people to breach those injunctions and it is correct for public representatives to break those injunctions alongside other people”.

More on this topic

Book reveals former finance minister opposed water meters but was overruled by Enda KennyBook reveals former finance minister opposed water meters but was overruled by Enda Kenny

Government accused of delaying potential referendum on public ownership of waterGovernment accused of delaying potential referendum on public ownership of water

Water referendum must 'not be rushed', says Eoghan Murphy Water referendum must 'not be rushed', says Eoghan Murphy

C&AG remit may cover water - Vote neededC&AG remit may cover water - Vote needed


Lifestyle

Carol O’Callaghan continues her round-up of home interior shops in country towns and the outer reaches of our cities, finding more treasure troves which offer something new and a touch of exclusivityMade in Munster: The best interior shops in country towns

When the Irish Examiner broke the news that an ultra-inquisitive deer photobombed newlyweds at Killarney’s Ladies View the story went viral.Wedding of the Week: Time for Australian celebrations for bride and groom photobombed by deer

At the start of the 10th and final episode of Confronting: OJ Simpson, a series which has been downloaded over five million times since launching in June, host Kim Goldman is in tears, talking to her father about how strong he was through the murder of her brother, his son,Ron Goldman.Podcast Corner: Host relives brother’s death in famous case

Thomas McCarthy pays tribute to his late friend — poet and journalist Seán Dunne'Seán Dunne was one of the most loved people I ever knew'

More From The Irish Examiner