Protests continue at Co Kildare site due to host Ukrainian refugees, court hears

Company building facilities voices fear of escalation, noting that other buildings have been burnt after being earmarked as accommodation for refugees

Protesters are continuing to obstruct entrances to a site in Co Kildare where emergency accommodation for hundreds of Ukrainian refugees is being built, the High Court has heard.

Total Experience Limited, trading as Pastures New Accommodation, which is constructing facilities at Newhall, Naas for families fleeing the war, last week secured a temporary order restraining protesters from blocking entrances.

The company claims its work continues to be hampered by those opposed to the State’s provision of accommodation to displaced people.

When the matter returned before the High Court on Monday, Mr Justice Oisín Quinn was told by Gary McCarthy SC, with Barry Mansfield BL, for the plaintiff, that despite the granting of the injunction the protest is ongoing.


His client’s workers and trucks making deliveries continue to have difficulties accessing the site, the court heard.

After the injunction was granted some of the protesters left the site but others have erected a campsite, consisting of a tent or gazebo, at the entrance, which forms part of his client’s property, Mr McCarthy said.

While some smaller vehicles can enter and leave the site, the campsite’s presence has prevented larger articulated lorries from doing so, it is claimed. Counsel said it is now his client’s case that the protesters, who have refused to leave the campsite, are trespassing.

As a result, counsel said, his client needs to amend its proceedings to deal with the alleged trespass and asked that the order previously granted by the court be further extended.

Counsel said the plaintiff also wants to add the names of several other individual it claims it has identified as being part of the protest. He said the matter remains urgent as it has not been possible to get the facility up and running on time. It was scheduled to open this week.

When the case was called on Monday, there was no appearance by any of the defendants, nor were any representations made on their behalf.

Mr Justice Quinn accepted that the matter remains urgent and adjourned it to later this week.

Last week the company told the court that up to 50 protesters were preventing people and vehicles from entering or leaving the site by using tactics including forming “a human shield” and by parking cars in front of the site’s entrances.

These activities amount to a nuisance and an unreasonable interference with the company’s work, it claims. The protesters have no legitimate basis for blocking the site, it further alleges.

The court granted the company a temporary injunction, on an ex-parte basis, restraining the protesters from deliberately preventing or obstructing entrances from the site. The firm has been contracted by the State to provide 985 beds in 387 cabins as well as a dining marquee, laundry and recreation facilities at the site.

The company says it is not attempting to interfere with anyone’s lawful right to peacefully protest. However, it says the blocking of the entrances is not lawful and creates a safety risk. The company has also voiced its concerns about aggressive social media posts made by various people regarding the protest.

One post stated: “All them trucks need is [fire emoji]”, while others stated that “[Four fire emojis] only solution man!”; “It will take a war are the Irish ready”.

The company is fearful that matters may escalate and noted that other buildings have been burnt after they were earmarked as accommodation for refugees.