herald

Monday 26 September 2016

My trial was 'political policing', says Perry

Cieran Perry (Collins Dublin)
Cieran Perry (Collins Dublin)

Dublin's Deputy Lord Mayor Cieran Perry has been cleared of public order charges arising out of his arrest during a protest in support of striking workers.

The independent councillor, who could have faced jail, claimed his trial was a result of "political policing".

After his acquittal yesterday, he blasted the decision to prosecute him as a "complete waste of garda and court resources".

Cllr Perry, a Trinity College computer technician and a Unite shop steward, had been arrested during an industrial relations protest against wage cuts imposed on workers at Dublin waste firm Greyhound, and the company's use of temporary staff while employees were on strike.

The councillor, who represents the Cabra-Finglas ward, faced charges for failing to comply with a garda's direction to leave the vicinity and interrupting the passage of vehicles, at Killala Road, Cabra on September 2, 2014.

The offences can result in fines and a possible six-month jail term. He faced trial before Dublin District Court.

Two witnesses disputed prosecution claims that gardai gave a caution to the protesters.

Judge Miriam Walsh said the prosecution failed to meet the burden of proof.

After his court win, Mr Perry said: "Today's verdict is a vindication of my claims of political policing. I don't believe it was a coincidence that I was charged during the same period where 23 people from Tallaght, 11 from Crumlin and numerous individual activists were also charged with various offences.

Resources

"In my opinion there was clearly a directive from senior garda management or government that political activists were to be targeted.

"I was shocked to be arrested and handcuffed.

"As a local councillor I have had numerous complaints about the lack of garda resources but there doesn't appear to be any shortage of gardai when they are called to act politically.

"On many occasions I have called for the Public Order Act to be used local to tackle anti-social behaviour and drug dealing but resources never appear to be available."

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