Policing of water protest criticised by South Dublin County Council

Council passes emergency motion calling for police restraint during peaceful protests in Dublin region

South Dublin County Council has condemned the “excessive police presence” at the anti-water charges protest in Dublin city centre over the weekend.

The council passed an emergency motion at a meeting last night calling for police restraint during peaceful protests in the Dublin region.

Speaking after the meeting, Independent councillor Paul Gogarty called the policing "heavy-handed" and said he was "happy to sign an emergency motion that calls for restraint of excessive force at what was a peaceful protest".

“It was a fairly innocuous event. The visible [Garda] presence might have come across as overbearing to people who were just coming out to have their voices heard,” he said.


The council also voted unanimously to oppose the national waste incinerator at Dublin Docklands and Poolbeg peninsula, even though the vote will have no legal authority other than making public the members’ frustration with the plan.

Implementing the waste management regional plan is an executive function, and elected representatives have no power over it.

While debating the motion, councillors expressed fear the plan will make Dublin a destination for foreign waste and will cause pollution.

Speaking before the meeting, Mayor Fintan Warfield (SF) said: “The decision to go ahead with the incinerator has already been agreed by the CEOs of the local authorities in Dublin. . .This is a travesty.

“No one doubts that we face a waste management crisis, but incineration is part of the problem, not the solution,” he said.

Mr Gogarty said if councillors were able to vote on the measure “in a free, democratic vote” he did not think it would be passed.

The council voted 28 to three to pass a motion brought by Mr Warfield calling on the Taoiseach to engage directly with British prime minister David Cameron about the "political impasse in the North" in relation to the Belfast and subsequent agreements.

“It is our belief that the Dublin Government should act as a defender of the agreement in the North,” Mr Warfield said.

Referring to related talks in Northern Ireland next week, William Lavelle (FG) said: "That's seemingly not good enough for Sinn Féin. You want the Taoiseach and David Cameron to hold your hands."

Colm Brophy (FG) said the motion put forward something all councillors should support: welcoming both sides of the issue to communicate in future.