Protester injured at Fingal County Council meeting

Frequently targeted local authority has spent €33,000 on security over past two years


An anti-water charge protester was treated for minor injuries following an incident during a demonstration outside a meeting of Fingal County Council in Swords, Co Dublin.

Images and videos posted on social media by anti-water charge groups based in north Co Dublin showed a woman with blood streaming down her face.

Gardaí said she was one of four protesters who broke through a cordon outside Fingal county hall and attempted to gain access to the building.

The woman was injured when a pane of glass on the revolving entrance door to the hall shattered as gardaí attempted to remove the protesters.

The woman was treated at the scene by an ambulance, gardaí said. No arrests were made.

A message posted on the “Balbriggan and surrounding areas against water charges” Facebook page shortly after the incident said: “Garda have attacked three of us and shattered the Fingal County Council office doors on top of us”.

Anti-water charge and anti-property tax protesters have been targeting meetings of Fingal County Council for more than two years.

On February 9th councillors were blockaded into the local authority’s main hall. When their meeting concluded at 8pm they discovered about 30 protesters had blocked off the exit to the car park. The blockade lasted until approximately 9.30pm.

Fingal has spent €33,000 on security for staff and councillors since February 2013, when anti-property tax protesters attempted to occupy the council chamber.

Fianna Fáil councillor Darragh Butler said Monday’s council meeting went ahead as planned, with the protest having no effect on the evening’s business.

He said he counted about 15 to 20 protesters outside the county hall and about eight gardaí.

He said the costs of providing security at meetings was an “awful waste” of council money. “I have no problem with peaceful protest but clearly when you jump over or go around three different barriers, that’s not peaceful protest,” he said.

“The council didn’t bring in the water charges, the Government did.”