Tuesday 22 January 2019

Anti-Austerity Alliance in challenge to garda ban on door-to-door fundraising


Chief Supt Orla McPartlin
Chief Supt Orla McPartlin

A senior garda refused to grant an Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor a permit for house-to-house and street collections in Dublin because she believed the money would be used for illegal acts, a court has heard.

The party wanted to raise funds to campaign in the next general election, and rejected the belief of Divisional Chief Supt Orla McPartlin of the Dublin Metropolitan Region, Dublin District Court was told.

An appeal is being brought by the party, member John Donnellan and councillor Michael Murphy against the high-ranking officer's decision, which they say prevents them from being able to raise funds in the capital.


Judge Michael Coghlan adjourned ruling on the issue, which could also lead to a High Court constitutional challenge.

Dublin TDs Ruth Coppinger and Joe Higgins and a number of Anti-Austerity Alliance members were present for the proceedings.

In July, Mr Murphy made an application for a permit to carry out a collection. It was made under the Street and House to House Collection Act, said Peter Leonard, for Ms McPartlin.

She turned down the appli- cation because it was her opinion that "the proceeds of the collection or part of the proceeds would be used in a manner to encourage directly or indirectly the commission of unlawful acts".

In evidence yesterday, Ms McPartlin told Judge Coghlan that she was aware Mr Murphy had been involved in a public order incident last November. There were also many protests against Irish Water installing meters in her division.

She refused Mr Murphy's app- lication because she believed it would be used, or would help people, to engage in further protests.

Ms McPartlin said several other people had been arrested at protests and she refused to grant the permit based on her opinion and information she had.

She said each application is dealt with individually and on its own merits and it was not "a blanket refusal".

In cross-examination with David Langwallner, for the appellants, she said there had been several public order incidents in her division which formed her opinion.

The net effect of this was to ban a political party from fundraising, and this raised constitutional issues.

Judge Coghlan asked for both sides to lodge written submissions within 14 days.

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