Legal action over funding permit denial

A senior garda refused to grant an Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor a permit for house-to-house and street collections in Dublin because she believed the money would be used for illegal acts, a court has heard.
Legal action over funding permit denial
Garda Superintendent Orla McPartlin at the Four Courts

Dublin District Court was told yesterday the party wanted to raise funds to campaign in the next general election and they rejected claims by Divisional Chief Supt Orla McPartlin, of the Garda’s Dublin Metropolitan Region.

An appeal is being brought by the Anti-Austerity Alliance, one of their members, John Donnellan, and councillor Michael Murphy against the garda’s decision, which they say prevents them from being able to raise funds in the capital.

Judge Michael Coghlan adjourned ruling on the issue which could also lead to a High Court constitutional challenge. Dublin TDs Ruth Coppinger and Joe Higgins and a number of Anti-Austerity Alliance were present for the proceedings.

In July, Mr Murphy, a member of the Anti-Austerity Alliance, applied to Chief Supt McPartlin for a permit to carry out a collection. The application was made under the Street and House to House Collection Act, said Peter Leonard BL for Chief Supt McPartlin.

Chief Supt McPartlin refused the application as she thought “the proceeds of the collection or part of the proceeds would be used in a manner to encourage directly or indirectly the commission of unlawful acts”.

Chief Supt McPartlin told Judge Michael Coghlan yesterday that she was aware Mr Murphy was involved in a public order incident on November 15 last year.

Garda Superintendent Orla McPartlin at the Four Courts
Garda Superintendent Orla McPartlin at the Four Courts

She said there were also many protests against Irish Water installing meters in her division over the previous six to nine months. She refused Cllr Murphy’s application for permission to have collections because she believed it would be used, or would help people, to engage in further protests.

She told the court each application is dealt with on its own merits and it was not “a blanket refusal”.

In cross-examination David Langwallner BL, for the appellants, said the legislation stated that, during the appeal, once the senior garda gives their opinion and has reasonable grounds for refusing the permit, the court is obliged to accept that.

Counsel for the Anti-Austerity Alliance also said that the net affect of this was to ban a political party from fund-raising in Chief Supt McPartlin’s division and this raised constitutional issues. Mr Langwallner also said High Court constitutional action may have to be taken.

Judge Coghlan asked for both sides to lodge written submissions within 14 days and he adjourned the case until November 20.

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