Court shown film of TD Joan Collins’s removal from protest

Independent among 11 defendants facing charges over water charge protest in Dublin

Film footage, showing outgoing Independent TD Joan Collins being removed by gardaí during an anti-water meter protest, was shown at Dublin District Court on Monday.

On the footage, filmed by one of the protesters, Ms Collins can be heard saying “take your hands off me”, as she is removed.

The 54-year-old deputy, from Inchicore, Dublin 8, United Left Alliance councillor, Patrick Dunne (48), of St Gerard's Road, Greenhills, Dublin 12, and nine co-defendants are accused of failing to comply with a garda's direction to leave Parnell Road, Harold's Cross on April 20th, 2015.

The group had been protesting at the installation of water meters. Two of the 11 are facing additional charges for obstructing gardaí. They have pleaded not guilty.


The defendants, each with counsel, sat together in the body of the court, along with supporters.

An audio clip of an interview with Ms Collins, by RTÉ presenter Dave Fanning, on the day after her arrest, was played for the court.

It began with a discussion about a tweet sent by actress Joan Collins on April 20th, saying she had not been arrested in Dublin and adding “the very idea”.

Deputy Joan Collins told Mr Fanning she had responded by tweeting she was not an OBE, would “never take an honour from a monarch” and “never wore shoulder pads”.

“You weren’t obstructing people going about their legal employment and ignoring reasonable instruction from an gardaí, by any chance, were you?” Mr Fanning is heard to ask.

“Ehmm, yes,” Ms Collins responds.


Sgt David Lynch, of Sundrive Road Garda Station, gave evidence of attending the scene at 8.50am. He said he saw six or seven people interfering with workers of GMC Sierra, the company installing water meters.

He said people were shouting abuse and foul language, including “f**king scumbag”. They also shouted that they would have 50-100 protesters and every car gardaí had would be needed to police it.

Sgt Lynch said he spoke to Ms Collins, Mr Dunne and another councillor, to try to find a peaceful means to allow workers to do their work or to leave.

“Ms Collins said protesters would not be moving; they were entitled to protest,” he told the court.

He said he believed there would be a serious breach of the peace and he informed the protesters they must leave, but they became more abusive and sat down.

“I was told personally to f**k off by one of them,” he said.

He said no one complied and he arrested Mr Dunne. Counsel for Mr Dunne said his client was there in his capacity as an elected person and had lawful reason to be there.

Garda Peter Byrne gave evidence of arresting Ms Collins. He said she was standing at a water valve and he asked her to “leave peacefully and in an orderly manner”. She said “no”. He then arrested her and took her to Terenure Garda Station.

The other defendants, accused of failing to comply with a garda’s direction to leave the vicinity, are Patrick Burke (50) of Dolphin House Rialto, Oisín O’Raw (18) from Derravaragh Road in Terenure, Gavin Byrne (42) of Temple Manor Way, Greenhills, Dublin 12, Aaron Healy (25) from Saul Road, Crumlin, Patrick Waine (56) of St Malachy’s Drive, Walkinstown, John O’Reilly (62) from Leighland Road, Crumlin and Andrew Canning (55) from Clanbrassil Close, Clanbrassil St, Dublin 8.

Edel Kenny (39) of Monasterboice Road, is also accused of failing to comply with a garda’s direction, but has an additional charge for obstructing a garda, as has Sofian Murphy (29) from Dolphin Road, Drimnagh.

The case continues before Judge Aeneas McCarthy.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist