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MEP among five arrested in property tax demo

FIVE people including a Socialist MEP were arrested as anti-property tax protesters stormed a Dublin council chamber.

MEP Paul Murphy was one of those arrested by gardai as the meeting of South Dublin County Council was brought to a halt amid chaotic and violent scenes.

Councillors condemned the "mob" behaviour of the protesters after the proceedings were suspended and several council workers knocked to the ground and allegedly assaulted.

Around 30 people took part in the demonstration at County Hall in Tallaght, including a former member of the council, Mick Murphy.

They entered the chamber with a banner and placards as councillors were debating a motion on the issue of property tax.

Mick Murphy announced there would be disruption at council meetings all over the country. Councillors left the chamber as demonstrators then began marching in a circle around the chamber, chanting: "Labour party, get off our backs. We won't pay your property tax".

Mr Murphy then proposed to the other protesters that they would not go until they decided to go. South Dublin Mayor Cathal King (SF) spoke to the demonstrators, advising them that the council had been about to vote on the issue and invited them to go to the public gallery.

However, they refused to leave and gardai cleared the chamber after restraining several protesters on the floor.

Rejected

The demonstration continued outside. When the meeting resumed, one motion on the property tax was rejected and another was carried.

The rejected motion – tabled by Cllr King – was that the council affirmed its opposition to the property tax and called on the Government to develop other strategies. The motion that was passed was tabled by Cllr Guss O'Connell (Ind) and called on the Government to "revisit the fundamentals of the proposed tax".

Standing orders were then suspended as councillors condemned the actions of the protesters.

"What took place here this afternoon was the actions of a mob," Cllr Colm Brophy said. "It bordered on thuggery."

The protesters said gardai were heavy-handed.

aphelan@herald.ie


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