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Woman arrested as hundreds demonstrate for Dail return

A woman was arrested outside Leinster House when protests organised to mark the return of the Dail after the summer recess became heated.

She was amongst a group of around 200 activists who had gathered to highlight a number of different societal issues - from mortgage taken over by 'vulture funds' to water charges, pylons and animal rights.

The woman, who was in her 40s and carried a cane because of a disability was attempting to pass by a security barrier when she was told by gardai that she would have to remain behind it.

It is understood that she then threw herself on the ground, demanding to be allowed pass, claiming that the barriers had been erected illegally.

Eye-witness Vivienne Kelly from Drumcondra told independent.ie that she and twin sister Sharon were members of the Alliance for Animal Rights, claiming they had mounted a peaceful protest outside the Dail, forming a group of around ten people in total protesting against animal cruelty.

Amongst them was the woman who had been arrested - though she was also an independent activist protesting against austerity, corruption and the situation in Gaza.

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Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

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Protests at the first sitting of the Dail following its summer break at Leinster House on Kildare Street Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

"It was a peaceful protest exacerbated by the police," claimed Vivienne.

She said the three of them were sitting down by the barrier outside the gates of Leinster House and were told to leave. She claimed a number of people had tried to 'rush the barrier' and that her friend had been knocked to the ground.

Because of her disability, she had struggled to get up, said Vivienne, adding that her friend had been injured in the melee.

"She was getting hurt because they were trampling all over her," she claimed.

"The gardai were shouting at her to get up but she couldn't get up quick enough and they just picked her up and carried her over to the van," she said.

"It all happened so quickly that she was so shocked she couldn't say a word," she added.

An ambulance arrived shortly after the incident but it is understood that it was not needed.

About half an hour after the arrest, gardai attempted to transfer the woman from the prison van parked outside the National Museum into a gardai car but from appearances, it seemed that she had refused to get inside.

She was subsequently taken away in the prison van. A handful of activists remained outside Leinster House.

Meanwhile around the corner at the Merrion Gates of Leinster House, asylum seekers mounted a protest against Direct Provision, alongside Senator Ronan Mullen.

Gerald Murambinda (32) from Zimbabwe explained that he had been living in a single room in a Direct Provision centre in Portlaoise for the last seven and a half years, along with his wife and now their two and half year old daughter.

"Life is difficult - especially for the children," he said.

University educated, Gerald had been a business man in Zimbabwe but had to flee for political reasons and seek asylum in Ireland.

He stressed that he would love to work in this country and contribute taxes. Life in Direct Provision services is monotonous and he passes the time by playing pool and table tennis, he said.

"We are not living a full life," he said.

"It is like an open prison," he declared of the centre.

"We are thankful for what we receive but we struggle with the time that this process is taking - it needs to be expedited."

Online Editors