More property tax protests planned
A protester is restrained by gardai during a demonstration at last night's South Dublin County Council meeting in Tallaght. PHOTOGRAPH: Dave Murphy
Two of the four people injured in disturbances at South Dublin County Council last night did not turn up for work today, the council said.
Five protesters were arrested last night after a group disrupted a meeting of South Dublin County Council by forcing its way into the council chamber in Tallaght. Demonstrations were also held at meetings of Fingal, Galway and Kilkenny councils, but no arrests were made in those cases.
Senior staff who spent much of yesterday with gardai at the council offices in Tallaght said three employees of security company G4S had been injured during the protest which was organised by the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes.
A fourth person, a female member of staff who was caught up in the protest when she opened a foyer door, was also said to be badly shaken and upset by the ordeal.
According to the council's director of corporate services Philip Murphy, all three security men received blows during scuffles with the protesters. He said one man had a severely swollen face and complained of being hit by a protester's fist.
Another security man received a torn shirt and bruising while a third complained of kicks to his knee. All three were treated for their injuries on site by council staff. Mr Murphy said two of the security staff were unable to come to work today due to their injuries.
Mr Murphy said council staff had expected a visit from the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes and members of the group had been met in the foyer, and offered accommodation in the public gallery. However when the female member of staff came out of the council chamber and into the foyer, Mr Murphy said the group stormed the door. This door was open, but was just the first of two doors, the second of which was damaged in the charge, he said.
Mr Murphy said the second door was electro-magnetically locked and was burst open by the protesters. He said after the meeting the lock was no longer working.
It is understood the gardai, who took statements from staff yesterday also took possession of closed circuit television footage.
The Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes said it plans to hold further demonstrations to campaign against the property tax.
Socialist MEP Paul Murphy, who was arrested yesterday, said “any political party or institution involved with the property tax” is a target.
He was “surprised” members of the group were arrested and accused the gardaí of being “very heavy-handed”. One of the protestors was hospitalised after the demonstration, he said.
This morning Fine Gael South Dublin councillor Colm Brophy dismissed the demonstration as “an act of violent protest” which amounted to “a piece of political grandstanding” designed to get Paul Murphy re-elected.
Protesters forced their way into the chamber and started “jumping up and down and shouting”, Cllr Brophy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland . Gardaí had “no choice” but to make arrests, he said.