Protester complains over arrest

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy is restrained by gardai during his arrest at a meeting of  South Dublin County Council this week. Photograph: Socialist Party

Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy is restrained by gardai during his arrest at a meeting of South Dublin County Council this week. Photograph: Socialist Party

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 00:00

A 19-year-old man has complained to the Garda Ombudsman over injuries he says he received during a recent protest at South Dublin County Council against water and household charges.

Aaron Nolan alleges he was knocked unconscious after having his head shoved against a wall by gardaí who were called to the council offices during the protest.

Mr Nolan was among a group of 30 members of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) who occupied the council chambers ahead of a meeting of councillors on February 11th.

He said his head was bruised during the incident. “I fell unconscious and was handcuffed while I was unconscious,” he said this morning ahead of handing in the complaint.

Mr Nolan said he was arrested and taken to Tallaght Garda station. After being released, he said his speech was slurred and his vision blurred. He went to Tallaght hospital where he was kept in overnight with concussion, he said.

A spokesman for the Garda Ombudsman said it did not comment on individual complaints. The length of time it took to process complaints differed depending on the incident, he added.

Five people were arrested at South Dublin County Council during the incident, including the MEP Paul Murphy. All were released without charge soon afterwards.

Mr Murphy said he was surprised at the Garda reaction to the protest. He alleges gardaí were trying to arrest protesters, take their phones and cameras and threatened them with pepper spray. “We expected them to come in, negotiate with us, give us some time and tell us we had to leave,” he said.

Protests took place at the same time in council offices in Swords, Dublin city, Kilkenny and Galway, where one arrest was made.

The Socialist Party has said the protests were the start of “ a militant campaign of boycott, protest and political pressure against the property tax”.