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Friday 19 January 2018

'Not guilty' plea by Dail truck protester

Tom Tuite

A PROPERTY developer has pleaded not guilty to criminal damage and motoring charges in connection with an incident in which a concrete mixer truck was allegedly driven against the gates of Leinster House last September.

On September 29, a cement lorry, with the words "Toxic Bank" and "Anglo" painted on its sides, had been driven towards the gates of Leinster House causing minor damages.

Joe McNamara (41), of Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Co Galway, who reportedly owes Anglo Irish Bank €3.5m, was charged at Dublin District Court on the following day with criminal damage.

The court had then heard Mr McNamara was exercising his rights to express opinions under section 40.6.1 of the Constitution.

Mr McNamara had been remanded on bail pending directions from the DPP.

Yesterday, he appeared again at the Dublin District Court where five further charges under the Road Traffic Act were brought against him in relation to the alleged incident.

These included dangerous driving, having no road tax, failing to display tax, not having a certificate of road worthiness and failing to produce a driving licence.


Garda Inspector Patrick McMenamin told Judge Patrick McMahon that the defendant had no reply to the first four charges but answered "a licence was produced" when the final one was put to him.

The DPP has directed "summary disposal" meaning the case is to be kept in the jurisdiction of the District Court.

Defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said his client was seeking a "date for hearing".

Judge McMahon noted the prosecution intended to call several witnesses and adjourned the case for a full day's trial at the District Court on March 21 next.

Mr McNamara was remanded on continuing bail pending his trial.

He also faces another court appearance in January when a date is to be set for a hearing after he pleaded not guilty earlier this week to a separate charge for dangerous driving.

This relates to an incident where a cherry picker was parked outside the government buildings on the morning of December 7 last, hours before Finance Minister Brian Lenihan made his budget speech.

Mr McNamara had been remanded in custody on that charge by the District Court but later that evening was released by the High Court.

Yesterday, after the date was set for the hearing, Mr O'Higgins said: "A number of people were in contact with my offices and sent emails at the time of the event.

"If any civilian witnesses want to give evidence in respect of the matter, they are welcome to contact my office."

Irish Independent

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