Extinction Rebellion activists from Cork to decide pleas on graffiti charge

They were charged after graffiti saying “no more empty promises” was splattered on the front of the Department of Foreign Affairs building
Extinction Rebellion activists from Cork to decide pleas on graffiti charge

Orla Murphy (left) and Zachery Lumley were arrested on the afternoon of March 19 last. Photo: Colin Keegan

Two Extinction Rebellion activists, who allegedly live-streamed a graffiti attack at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, have been given five weeks to decide pleas.

Orla Murphy, 20, with an address at Ballinacarrig, Whitechurch, Co. Cork and 21-year-old Oxford University biology student Zachery Lumley, from South Lodge Ballinlough, Cork City were arrested on the afternoon of March 19 last.

They were charged with criminal damage at cabinet minister Simon Coveney’s department building, Iveagh House, at St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

Paint was splattered on the front of the building and graffiti saying “no more empty promises” sprayed across the building’s entrance. Posters were also stuck to the wall of the building.

They were granted bail at Dublin District Court the following day, but were ordered to stay out of Dublin, except for court appearances, and to remain away from all Government buildings.

Former film student Orla Murphy was held in custody for a number of weeks before she signed her bail bond and was released.

They appeared again today when Judge Michael Walsh heard the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed the case should only remain at district court level if they plead guilty.

Otherwise they must face a trial before a judge and jury in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. They did not indicate their pleas today.

Their solicitor Luke Staines asked Judge Walsh to order disclosure of prosecution evidence. Judge Walsh directed gardaí to furnished copies of the statements and he remanded the pair on continuing bail until their next hearing on October 12.

Bail hearings

In March, arresting gardaí Philip Farrissey and Paul Cummins had objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case. The court heard that the incident was allegedly filmed and live-streamed on the Extinction Rebellion Cork’s Facebook page.

Garda Cummins alleged that it was a premeditated and prolonged attack lasting 12 minutes. Zachery Lumley filmed and encouraged and "egged on" his co-accused while shouting a tirade of his political views, Garda Cummins had told the bail hearing.

The gardaí had told the court that the repair could have cost up to €10,000. The district court was told Ms Murphy had been a film student but became involved in climate activism and youths groups.

Her bail was set at €1,000 and she had to lodge €500, continue to reside at her home address, and remain contactable by phone at all times. The judge warned her not to go near any government building.

Similar conditions were imposed on Mr Lumley who was also told he must lodge €500 in his own bond. He had needed a €2,500 independent surety.

The court heard he was in university but around the time of the incident he had been attending lectures remotely, and had an unblemished record. He was extremely concerned about the climate crisis.

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