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Meter worker 'struck by van' during protest

A MOTION to fine four anti-water charge protesters or commit them to prison for allegedly breaching a 20-metre exclusion zone around contractors installing water metres has been adjourned by the High Court.

The company secured the orders after its lawyers told the High Court that its workers had been harassed and threatened while they were installing meters in the Dublin 5 and Dublin 13 areas.

In the High Court yesterday, lawyers for GMC Sierra moved contempt of court proceedings against a number of protesters on grounds that they allegedly breached the court's order of November 5 2014 - the "20 metre order".

Barrister Jim O'Callaghan SC, for GMC Sierra, said breaches of the orders have continued and a guarantee that future protests would be conducted peacefully was of no comfort to his client.

Mr O'Callaghan read into the record portions of an affidavit by an operations manager for GMC Sierra. It stated that in the days and weeks following November 5 2014, GMC Sierra had planned to install some 500 water meters in areas around Dublin but only some 200 were installed. A worker was allegedly struck by a van, a known protester "kneed a worker in the face" and protesters breached the 20-metre safety zone, the affidavit alleged.

A number of people present in court made remarks to the effect that these allegations were untrue and Mr Justice Gilligan said if there was another outburst of that nature he would clear the court.

The judge said there was evidence before the court that there had been breaches by four individuals of that order - that the 20-metre zone had been breached - and the court noted their failure to give an undertaking not to breach the order.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he accepted that four of the respondents had to be given the opportunity to submit replying affidavits to put in their version of events. He said he would "reluctantly" accede to adjourn until next Monday.