Meter installers want 20m exclusion zone
THE High Court has adjourned to next month contempt proceedings against a number of people over protests about the installation of water meters.
Meter-installation contractor GMC Sierra Ltd had sought injunctions preventing its workers from being assaulted, intimidated and prevented from installing meters.
It previously obtained injunctions against nine people and yesterday sought to bring attachment and committal to prison proceedings against another group of nine men and women arising out of alleged contempt for breaching the injunction which also applied to everyone with knowledge of it.
The court was packed yesterday with anti water-charge protesters who, when counsel for GMC Sierra said he was applying for a 20 metre exclusion area at work sites, began to jeer loudly.
Solicitor Cahir O'Higgins, for eight of the nine defendants, said his clients dissociated themselves from the earlier jeering and said his clients completely denied any breach of court orders.
They were opposing the exclusion zone because they believed it would be a disproportionate interference with their constitutional right to free expression of their opposition to "an unjust and unfair levy or tax by an organisation which has questions to answer in terms of bonuses".
Mr O'Higgins said he had seen video footage which GMC Sierra intended to rely on and it was difficult to reconcile (what is in the footage) as being intimidation of workers.
The judge suggested that as an adjournment was being sought that the parties could discuss whether undertakings could be given by the defendants pending a hearing.
The judge said he would not hear GMC Sierra's application until the next day.
An application for free legal aid for all the defendants will be dealt with at the end of the case, the judge said.