Water protester returns from holiday to face jail
THIS is water protester Michael Batty, who is facing prison after he returned home from his holiday in Tenerife yesterday.
A stay was put on a prison order against Mr Batty (67), of Edenmore Avenue, Raheny, until Monday, as he was abroad for health reasons.
The great-grandfather sent a letter to the court apologising for his absence, where it was explained that he is a chronic asthmatic who had gone abroad to a hot climate.
When approached by the Herald yesterday, Mr Batty refused to comment.
It is understood Mr Batty and his wife Anne travel to Spain on a yearly basis because a hot climate helps with his asthma.
"It's to prevent it [asthma]. He's nearly died twice from it," a source close to Mr Batty said.
"You can ask anyone in the neighbourhood. He [Mr Batty] went away just like he's gone away every year."
The source said that he would attend his court appearance on Monday, March 9, but that he would "not be saying anything".
According to the source, the Raheny resident is friendly with the other four imprisoned protesters.
Mr Batty was one of five people who Judge Paul Gilligan ordered to be committed to prison for breaching orders not to interfere with water meter installers GMC Sierra.
Bernie Hughes, Damien O'Neill, Paul Moore and Derek Byrne were all found in contempt of court and sent to jail with sentences of up to 56 days.
However, Mr Justice Gilligan stated that "the door to this court is open" for the protesters to be released if they abide by court orders not to interfere with meters.
In relation to Mr Batty's case, the judge said that it was only fair the court should hear further submissions on the matter after he had returned from abroad.
The court also heard that Mr Batty was agreeing to abide by the court orders, an example he encouraged the four arrested individuals to follow.
The source close to Mr Batty said that the arrest would not deter him from further protests.
The Herald understands that Mr Batty will attend a planned protest outside Mountjoy Prison today.