'Anglo Avenger' relieved as protest case dropped
PROPERTY developer Joe McNamara has vowed to stop his protests after his prosecution for parking a cherrypicker truck outside Leinster House was dropped yesterday.
Mr McNamara (41), who has been dubbed the 'Anglo Avenger', had been charged at Dublin District Court with dangerous driving on of December 7, 2010, hours before former finance minister Brian Lenihan made his Budget speech.
The Achill-born builder, with an address at Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Co Galway, reportedly owes Anglo Irish Bank €3.5m.
He had parked a cherrypicker, emblazoned with protest slogans, at the gates of Dail Eireann. He had previously driven a cement lorry at the gates of Leinster House.
Following his arrest on December 7 for the cherrypicker incident, he was remanded in custody and released by order of the High Court later that day.
He then made several court appearances and his case had been adjourned until yesterday pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"I understand the application of the State is to withdraw the charges," defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins told Judge William Early yesterday.
"Mr McNamara is asking me to say that he is appreciative of the fair and sensible approach adopted by the State and he regrets any inconvenience or any waste of state resources."
Afterwards, Mr McNamara issued a statement through his solicitor.
"Joe is just anxious to say that he is very relieved that the charges have been withdrawn," the solicitor said.
"He thinks it is the right result, he had never intended any level of criminal action or activity whatsoever.
"He was just anxious to make that protest in a lawful, peaceful but yet sensible manner and that is something he has achieved."
A relieved Mr McNamara then spoke quietly to add: "No more protests."
This is the second time he has escaped censure for criminal charges brought against him arising out of his protests at Government buildings.
In March, he was acquitted of criminal damage and dangerous driving after a cement lorry, with the words "Toxic Bank" and "Anglo" painted on it, was driven at the gates of Leinster House on September 29.