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Protestor pleads not guilty to criminal damage after Tanaiste’s BMW egged

A PROTESTER accused of throwing eggs at Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's ministerial BMW, which was cleaned at a cost of €9, has pleaded not guilty to criminal damage and breach of the peace charges.

On October 5 last, the Tanaiste was attending an event to promote the children’s referendum when his car was allegedly attacked by protesters at about 11am at the Blackditch Road, in Ballyfermot, in west Dublin.

Seventy children were in the The Base, a childcare centre, for Unicef's launch of their support for a Yes-vote in the children’s rights referendum.

Mr Gilmore was with Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald and had been due to attend but he abandoned the event after the alleged incident.

A demonstration was staged following reports that the Government plans to cut children’s allowance payments in the upcoming Budget.

Later that day, protester Donall O Ceallaigh (28), who lives at Harold's Cross Road, Dublin 6, was charged with criminal damage to a 5-Series BMW property of An Garda Siochana's transport section, and breach of the peace.

Dublin District Court has heard that no damage was caused to the ministerial car but it had to be cleaned at a cost of €9.

Today Mr O Ceallaigh appeared again at the same court and his solicitor John Bermingham asked for a hearing date to be set. “I can indicate it is a plea of not guilty,” Mr O Ceallaigh's lawyer said.

Judge Denis McLoughlin ordered Mr O Ceallaigh to appear again for his district court trial on November 22 next.

He was remanded on continuing bail and must obey a condition “to stay away from public events where Government ministers are in attendance”.

A district court conviction for criminal damage can carry a prison term not exceeding 12 months as well as a fine. The breach of the peace offence can result in a fine and or a sentence of up to three months in jail.