Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dad and daughter in court over embassy protest

A FATHER and daughter have been accused of breaking a sign at the Israeli embassy in Dublin during a protest at the weekend.

Activists Stephen (42) and Saoirse Bennett (20) were arrested and brought before Dublin District Court yesterday, charged with causing criminal damage at the embassy.

Judge Michael Coghlan granted bail and adjourned the cases to a date in September.

The defendants, from Pearse Green, Sallynoggin, are both charged with causing criminal damage to a sign at the Israeli embassy on Pembroke Road on July 19.

They are also charged with one count each of resisting arrest, while Stephen Bennett faces a third charge of resisting gardai again at the US embassy on the same date.

Garda Sergeant Niall Murphy handed evidence of the defendants' arrest, charge and caution in to court by certificate. He said a bail condition was sought that Saoirse Bennett stays away from the Israeli embassy.


It was alleged that a sign was broken on top of a wall outside the building and she was arrested not far away.

Judge Coghlan remarked that while people were entitled to protest "if there is vandalism, it detracts from their own protest. Vandalism doesn't advance their cause".

The judge said under bail conditions, Ms Bennett must refrain from trespassing on private property, to wit the Israeli embassy. She must also be of good behaviour.

"I am looking at the context in which these issues have arisen," the judge 

Solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said Mr Bennett "is happy to protest in a lawful and peace-abiding manner but he is most anxious to continue with his activism and protest legitimately".

Mr O'Higgins said the defendant would undertake not to break the law.

Both defendants, who are unemployed, were remanded on bail.

Legal aid was granted to Mr Bennett, but this was deferred for his daughter, subject to her filing a statement of her financial means.


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