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Dock worker grandad faces trial over picket

A 63-YEAR-old Dublin dock worker is facing a Circuit Court trial after being charged in connection with a "floating picket" that was staged in the ports.

Gerald McDonnell is charged under Shipping and Harbour Safety Regulations following the demo in 2009.

McDonnell was remanded on continuing bail when he appeared in Dublin District Court.

He had been arrested and charged over a protest involving boats in the harbour on August 27, 2009.

Supporters staged a large protest on the steps of the Criminal Courts of Justice this morning with banners bearing slogans such as 'Worker Not A Criminal'.

McDonnell, with an address of Pembroke Cottages, Ringsend, Dublin 4, is charged with two offences under the Harbours Act.





Vessel

He is accused of obstructing and impeding the exercise of power of the harbour master of Dublin Port at the fairway entrance to the port.

He is also charged with preventing the Stena Line Nordica navigating in the port.

A third charge under the Maritime Safety Act was that he allowed the vessel, The Orkney Fastliner 19, to impede and interfere with other vessels.

The State solicitor told Judge Bryan Smyth that the DPP was directing trial on indictment.

This means that the case will have to be sent to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where the potential penalties on conviction are more severe.

The State solicitor said there was no book of evidence ready yet and he sought a four-week adjournment.

McDonnell's solicitor, Chris Horrigan, told the court that the defendant was not consenting to this adjournment.

He said that the allegations went back to August 2009 and the file had been on the director's desk for a significant period of time.

Judge Smyth instead granted a six-week adjournment at Mr Horrigan's request.





Remanded

The accused, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, did not address the court during the brief hearing.

He was remanded on continuing bail to appear in court again on April 1.

aphelan@herald.ie