POLITICAL activist Ben Gilroy has stepped down as leader of Direct Democracy Ireland because of an ongoing legal battle.
Mr Gilroy (pictured below) is one of three people facing the prospect of imprisonment for breaching court orders by allegedly trespassing and occupying a Kildare stud farm.
Joint receivers over lands at Kennycourt Stud, Brannockstown, Naas, told the High Court Mr Gilroy and a Charlie Allen, along with the landowner Eugene McDermott, were involved with "a mob" that forced the receiver's agents off the lands.
Mr Gilroy stunned the Labour Party after he outpolled their candidate Eoin Holmes in last year's Meath East by-election. He secured over 1,500 first preference votes in the election, which was won by Fine Gael's Helen McEntee.
Mr Gilroy last night confirmed that he was stepping down as leader due to the ongoing legal battle, but revealed that he still intended to contest both the local and European elections.
"I feel it's the right thing to do but I'm certainly not going away," he told the Irish Independent.
"We showed during the by-election that despite getting zero media coverage initially, people responded to us."