Monday 23 April 2018

Father and daughter charged over damage to Department of Justice

The demonstrations took place outside the office of Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins
The demonstrations took place outside the office of Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins

Andrew Phelan

FIVE people, including a father and daughter, have been charged in connection with a protest in which the Department of Justice was allegedly damaged with white paint.

Stephen (42) and Saoirse Bennett (20), Terence Barry (42), John Rooney (22) and Francis McDonagh (27) were all remanded on continuing bail when they appeared in Dublin District Court today.

Three of the defendants are charged with causing criminal damage and two are accused of public order offences in the incident last month.

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned their cases for the directions of the DPP after hearing the prosecution was considering bringing further charges.

The accused were all arrested after a group of protestors mounted a demonstration outside the Department of Justice and Minister Alan Shatter's St Stephen's Green offices in the wake of the garda taping controversy.

Stephen Bennett, of Pearse Green, Sallynoggin, Terence Barry of Kennedy Park, Thurles and John Rooney from Nephin Road Cabra are all charged with using paint to cause criminal damage to the Department of Justice Building on St Stephen's Green.

The offence, contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act, is alleged to have happened on March 31 last.

Saoirse Bennett of Pearse Green, Sallynoggin is charged with using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour to cause a breach of the peace and Francis Mc Donagh of Nutgrove Crescent, Rathfarnham, is accused of failing to obey garda directions. Those charges are under Sections 6 and 8 of the Public Order Act.

The defendants were arrested at the time of the incident and were brought to Pearse Street Garda Station. They were released on station bail pending today's court proceedings.

Sgt Zita Woods said further charges were being contemplated in all cases and sought a two-month adjournment for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Judge Michael Walsh granted free legal aid following applications by defence solicitor Stephen O'Mahony.

None of the accused have yet indicated how they intend to plead to the charges.

The incident at the Department of Justice followed a protest that started from O'Connell at 6pm on March 31. White paint was reportedly thrown on the building's exterior.

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