herald

Saturday 19 January 2019

Anglo protest duo fined over angry clash with gardai

TWO men have been convicted of public order breaches during a "volatile" standoff between gardai and protesters occupying Anglo Irish Bank's Dublin HQ.

Community worker Paraig O Meiscill (25) and library attendant John McCusher (33) hurled abuse at gardai and were among a group who tried to prevent officers leaving the scene with protesters who had already been arrested on the bank's roof.

Dublin District Court heard the accused had chanted "Whose cops? Bank's cops" and shouted insults at the gardai.

A major demonstration by left-wing republican group Eirigi was being mounted in opposition to Nama and the State bailout of Anglo Irish Bank at the time of the incident, on May 15 last year.



Abusive

O Meiscill, of Brooklands Grange, Dunmurry, and McCusher, of Amcomri Street, both Belfast, were found guilty of causing a breach of the peace by using threatening, abusive and insulting words and behaviour. They denied the charges.

Judge Ann Watkin adjourned the case for a week and said she would be fining McCusher €750 and O Meiscill €500.

Related cases against four other men and a woman were adjourned to dates in April and May.

Garda Kieran O'Sullivan told the court four Eirigi members had chained themselves together on the roof of the St Stephen's Green bank HQ for several hours when they were arrested and removed. They were placed in a patrol van and as gardai attempted to leave with the prisoners a group of around 20 protesters shouted obscenities.

Among the slogans they shouted was "Whose cops? Banks Cops". O'Meiscill also said "f***ing pigs". The crowd was directed to leave and as the gate opened, they rushed the gardai.

"There were members of the public with their children across the road and traffic had come to a halt because of the standoff," Garda O'Sullivan said.

Garda witnesses could not recall batons being drawn.

Garda Niall O'Reilly said McCusker was "one of the main instigators".

McCusher said his aim was never to block the gates but to find out what had happened to the four rooftop protesters.

aphelan@herald.ie

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