Demonstration at Garda station over policing of water protest

Three water charge protesters arrested earlier in Santry for obstructing Taoiseach’s car

The scene in Coolock tonight where  a group has gathered to  protest at the policing of an earlier demonstration against water charges in Santry. Photograph: Collins Photos.

The scene in Coolock tonight where a group has gathered to protest at the policing of an earlier demonstration against water charges in Santry. Photograph: Collins Photos.

 

A demonstration took place outside a Dublin Garda station on Wednesday night following accusations of heavy handed policing at an earlier protest.

Up to 300 people gathered at Coolock Garda station in response to the treatment of anti-water charge protesters at an event in Santry earlier Wednesday. The Malahide Road in Dublin was partially blocked as a result.

The earlier protest took place at Northwood in Santry when Taoiseach Enda Kenny was attending an opening at a sports clinic.

Three people were arrested there for obstructing Mr Kenny’s car and were taken to Coolock Garda station. They were later released.

Protesters later claimed a woman was dragged off the road by gardaí when some of the group tried to block Mr Kenny’s car at the earlier event.

Ciarán Heaphey, who attended the Santry protest, and is also a member of Éirígí, said Wednesday night’s demonstration was continuing in response to the treatment of protesters by gardaí.

“I was out protesting peacefully against Enda Kenny and Irish Water,” said Ciarán Heaphey, who attended the Santry protest and is also a member of Éirígí. “The guards pretty much moved against a group of us who were protesting as soon as Enda Kenny came out of the conference.”

Mr Heaphey added: “I was pushed to the ground straight away by about three or four guards and they dragged me along the ground and threatened to pepper spray me.

“People are angry today – there was a couple of women pushed and shoved earlier today and there were three arrests. People are angry at Irish Water and they’ve had enough.”

Elizabeth Byrne, who was also at the earlier protest, said she was “in shock” at what she had seen then. “I was sick to the stomach to see Enda Kenny sit in his car and watch women and old men, one who is 74 years of age, being pushed and dragged by gardaí. I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said

She continued: “How can Enda Kenny sit in his car and give a thumbs up? It’s a disgrace.”

June Whitley said she was pushed to the ground at the protest by the gardaí.

“It was a peaceful water meter protest, there was no need for it,” she said.

Olive Byrne said that when people saw video footage on Facebook of what happened earlier in the day, hundreds more from the locality came down in support.

“It was a peaceful protest against Irish Water, there was no need for the gardaí to use pepper spray,” she said.

Later on Wednesday, a large number of the protesters marched up and down the Malahide Road chanting: “From the water to the sea, Irish water shall be free.”

A garda spokesman said: “There are a number of people protesting outside the station. A section of road has been shut outside the station. Diversions are in place.”