We made arrest, say gardai after Shatter claims they stood by
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter has accused gardai of not coming to his aid when his car was surrounded by anti-water charge protesters at a rally outside Leinster House.
The Garda Commissioner has been notified after dramatic scenes outside the Dail yesterday evening also forced two government senators to abandon their vehicles.
A combined demonstration against water charges and the Greek situation descended into chaos after Oireachtas members were abused as they tried to exit the premises.
Deputy Shatter criticised the policing of the protest after he was blocked for several minutes as he attempted to enter Leinster House.
“They gathered around the car, the front and back sides, and started chanting abuse.
“Some chose to kick the car or hit it with their fists and unfortunately it was somewhat disappointing that while initially this was taking place the four members of An Garda Siochana just stood and observed it. They didn’t intervene,” he said.
A garda spokesman responded to Deputy Shatter’s claim by saying an arrest had been made.
“At approximately 8pm gardai arrested a man in his 50s on Kildare Street following a public order incident and taken to Pearse Street Garda Station,” he said.
“This man has been charged and will appear before the courts at a future date. Investigations are continuing.”
During the evening a large section of protesters staged a sit-in that caused traffic chaos.
There were dramatic scenes after two Labour senators – Mary Moran and Denis Landy – were forced to abandon their vehicles on Kildare Street.
One garda received medical treatment after she was hit by a traffic cone.
“I have never experienced anything like this. It was totally disgraceful to see the guards attacked in that manner,” Ms Moran said.
Meanwhile, the Committee for Procedure and Privileges (CPP) has requested that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan appear in Leinster House to explain the garda operation that was put in place.
TDs have been critical of the decision not to place railings around the entrance to Leinster House as is the norm during large protests.
Sources said senior gardai previously attended a CPP meeting and assured members that there would be no situation whereby TDs and senators were prevented from leaving or
entering Leinster House.
The organisers said the protest was a response to the Government rushing further water charges legislation through the Dail this week.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly has introduced a number of amendments to the Environment Miscellaneous Provisions Bill.
These include setting up a database for the water conservation grant and the blocking of a house sale until water charges are paid. The law will also oblige local authority tenants to pay their water charges.