Injunction lifted as row over dog track protests resolved

Court rules group may continue demonstrations but must abide by certain conditions

A High Court injunction limiting the extent of a protest against the greyhound racing industry outside Shelbourne Park in Dublin track has been lifted. File photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

A High Court injunction limiting the extent of a protest against the greyhound racing industry outside Shelbourne Park in Dublin track has been lifted. File photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

 

A High Court injunction limiting the extent of a protest against the greyhound racing industry outside Shelbourne Park in Dublin track has been lifted.

The order was discharged as part of an agreement reached between the protesters and the operators of Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium Ltd, which had obtained the ex-parte injunction last November.

As part of the settlement, the protesters will continue their peaceful protests outside the track on Saturday evenings and will abide by certain agreed conditions.

The protesters, whose legal costs are to be paid by the track operators, acknowledge the operators right to promote and organise greyhound racing events at the track and the entitlement of the track’s patrons and employees to attend such events.

As part of the agreement, the operators said they were happy to remove any insinuations made during the proceedings that the protesters had any involvement with leaflets sent to the track’s neighbours, which contained threats that the residents’ property would be damaged unless they supported the protests. The protesters denied any involvement with the leaflets, which are subject of a Garda investigation.

The injunction prevented six named protesters, and any other person with knowledge of the order, conducting an ongoing action within 50m of the track’s entrance. It also restrained the defendants interfering with access to the stadium.

Documentary

The protests began last year after an RTÉ documentary highlighted certain practices in the greyhound industry.

As part of the agreement Catherine Woods of East Wall, Ringsend, Dublin; Bernie Wright, of Foxhaven, Shallon, The Ward, Co Dublin; and Conor Brady and Noiren Carrigg, both of Carnoustie, Annaghlong, Gorey, Co Wexford will ensure certain protocols will be put in place during the protests.

They will ensure stewards, in high visibility jackets, will be in place during the protests. The stewards will ensure certain protocols will be put in place. The protesters will also confine the content of their posters, banners and slogans to the plight of greyhounds and not about customers, of employees of the track operators. Two other defendants, Laura Broxson and Tawnie Ocampo, of Burnell Green, Northern Cross, Malahide, Co Dublin, agreed to abide by the protocol at any future protest outside the track they attend.

Mr Justice O’Connor welcomed the settlement. He said he was not being critical of any party in the action, or their advisers. With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better for all sides had the defendants been put on notice of the proceedings before the ex-parte injunction was sought last November, he said.

The Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) was involved as an ‘amicus curiae’ or friend to the court. It said the case raises important issues concerning the rights to freedom of speech and to assembly.