Councillor faces jail over his role in Greyhound demonstration
A DUBLIN City councillor and associate of left-wing TD Paul Murphy is facing the prospect of being jailed over his role in a demonstration last year, the Herald can reveal.
Independent councillor Cieran Perry, who topped the poll in the local elections in Cabra, was one of two men arrested by gardai after demonstrating against the imposition of pay cuts on Greyhound workers on September 2, 2014.
The Greyhound workers and their supporters had been protesting at the recycling firm’s base in Cabra for almost 11 weeks when the picket was staged.
Mr Perry and a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, David Gaughran, were arrested by gardai at the scene – having initially been asked to leave.
More than a year after the incident took place, Mr Perry received a court summons in the post.
The councillor has been ordered to appear before the courts on October 16, where he will face two charges under the Public Order Act. If convicted, Mr Perry faces the prospect of a jail sentence up to a maximum of six months or a €2,000 fine.
Mr Perry’s decision to run in the General Election in Dublin Central was backed by Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) TD Paul Murphy and United Left Alliance deputy Joan Collins.
Both Mr Murphy and Ms Collins are facing their own charges for their roles in separate protests.
Mr Murphy, a Dublin South West TD, will appear before the courts for his role in the infamous Jobstown protest last November.
During the protest, Tanaiste Joan Burton and her special adviser, Karen O’Connell, were trapped in their car for two hours.
Ms Collins, a Dublin South Central TD, been summoned to appear in court in connection with alleged public order offences at a protest in April.
Speaking to the Herald last night, Mr Perry said he was “shocked” to be facing charges.
“I am shocked that such a trivial incident has resulted in me being prosecuted on such a serious charge. It’s worrying that a Section 8 charge can result in a custodial sentence and a hefty fine,” he said.
Mr Perry also claimed that the court summons arrived in the post one week after he was critical of gardai at a meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) in Ballymun.
“I am suspicious that a week after I publicly questioned gardai about a lack of policing in the Cabra area, at a contentious North West JPC meeting earlier this month, a year-old summons is delivered to my home. I also ask how come gardai have the resources to prosecute a community activist, such as myself, when they don’t appear to have the resources to tackle drug dealers and thugs in my area?
“Targeting of political activists appears to be happening all over the city, with at least 37 before the courts,” Mr Perry added.
Last night, a garda spokesman said: “An Garda Siochana do not comment on named individuals.”