Lawyers for GMC Sierra, the company which has a contract to install water 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. The company secured the order on November 5, after its lawyers told the High Court its workers had been harassed and threatened while installing meters in certain areas.
GMC subsequently moved contempt of court proceedings against seven protesters on grounds they allegedly breached the November 5 order in Phibsboro and Stoneybatter in Dublin .
Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan said he was satisfied the protest actions represented “harassment and intimidation” of GMC Sierra’s workers.
The judge committed Dublin men Damien O’Neill, of Greenwood Park, Coolock, and Paul Moore, of Mount Olive Grove in Kilbarrack, to prison for 56 days “taking into account this is the second finding of contempt” against them.
Bernie Hughes, of McKelvey Avenue, Finglas, and Derek Byrne, of Streamville Road, Donaghmede, were sent to prison for 28 days, while Michael Batty, of Edenmore Avenue, Raheny, had a stay put on his committal to prison until Tuesday because he is currently out of the country for health reasons.
The five respondents had legal costs awarded against them.
Earlier, the judge said he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt two protestors, Mark Egan of Tonlegee Drive, Raheny, and Richie Larkin of Mount Olive Road, were in breach of the court’s order and accordingly the application for relief against them was refused.
Prior to their committal to prison, counsel for the five respondents, Patrick McGrath, said his clients were not willing to give an undertaking to the court not to breach the order again and no bond would be entered into by them.