Saturday 24 March 2018

'Anglo Avenger' cherry picks his way back to the Dail in new stunt

Edel Kennedy

MAYBE Brian Lenihan should rethink those garda cuts.

Barriers were put around the Dail, extra gardai were drafted in, and some roads had restricted access -- and yet nobody spotted a cherry picker adorned with abusive slogans trundling through the snow.

Maybe the assembled officers were expecting the 'Anglo Avenger' to use the same cement mixer as his last alleged stunt.

But he appeared to have gotten the better of them by disguising himself in a hard hat and a bright-yellow cherry picker which he had encased in wood.

Joe McNamara -- whose face adorned every newspaper when he was arrested last September -- gave our boys in blue the slip and made his way up Kildare Street to the gates of Leinster House in the early morning.

The control panel of the vehicle -- which was adorned with slogans attacking politicians' pensions and bankers -- was sealed off, preventing gardai from bringing him back to the ground.

The 41-year-old raised himself to the full height that the machine could reach and stayed there for more than an hour playing Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face' and the theme tune from spaghetti western 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'. He also allegedly threw tennis balls to the ground.

He lowered the crane arm at around 8.45am and was arrested by half a dozen officers, who bundled him into the back of a garda van.

The 'Avenger' had been on bail for criminal damage charges, after allegedly engaging in a similar protest which involved driving a cement-mixer daubed with the words 'Anglo Toxic Bank' against the gates of the houses of the Oireachtas last September.

Yesterday, Mr McNamara was charged with dangerous driving at Dublin District Court.

He was then remanded in custody having being found in breach of his original bail conditions, which stipulated that he should not come to the unlawful attention of gardai during his release.

But last night, Mr Justice Michael Peart made an order releasing Mr McNamara from custody after his counsel, Michael O'Higgins, successfully argued he was being unlawfully detained.

Speaking outside the court his solicitor, Cahir O'Higgins, said that his client was "very pleased" with the outcome of the application.

He said that Mr McNamara had not intended to come to the unlawful attention of gardai, but that on "this blackest of days" for Irish society, he felt the need to make some form of legitimate and legal civil protest.

Irish Independent

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