Is this a new development of cooperation between An Garda Siochána and Irish Water in the much disputed installation of water meters in Ireland?
Up to 15 people including Joan Collins, United Left Alliance TD, were arrested today, Monday, April 20, in Parnell Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12. The first arrest began around 9am. The people were protesting peacefully against installation of water meters. Protesters said that they were standing on the pavement peacefully protesting when they were arrested. Ms Collins claimed that three gardaí had their batons raised and that one protester was pepper sprayed. Gardai have said that those arrested were released without charge and files on the matter would be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Irish Times
The Irish Times reported that Ms Collins was taken to Terenure Garda station for questioning and has since been released. A file is due to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ms Collins said she resisted in a peaceful way. She said: “I was supporting the constituents in my community.
“I believe I behaved the way I should have.” The United Left TD told Newstalk 18 gardai arrived at the scene.
She said she had been elected to oppose such measures including the bin tax.
Councillor for Left Alliance Pat Dunne was also arrested and said this signalled a “change in Garda tactics”.
Mr Dunne said: “There was no meters being installed. We were awaiting a meter to be installed.
He said gardai used the Public Order Act and said it signals a change in Garda tactics.
“It was bizarre. It was a peaceful protest. There was no pushing or shoving.”
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said TDs who make the law have a duty to uphold it.
He said: “Those few people who have the opportunity to change the law and who have the privilege to do it and to pass new laws have a particular responsibility to obey that law once it is passed.”
The Journal.ie online newpaper
The Journal.ie also reported the incident. They quoted Joan Collins after being released as saying:
"I was arrested by a Garda sergeant this morning while attending a peaceful anti-water meter protest. I was released in the last few minutes and am now back at the protest. The charge against me and other protesters was that I was in contravention of the Public Order Act. I was simply standing on a public footpath. My United Left colleague, Cllr Pat Dunne was also arrested together with 14 other residents. He has also been released. Our rightful fight against Water Charges will continue"
The journal also said that Cllr Tina McVeigh was present at this morning’s protest and said they were protesting the installation of water meters.
McVeigh claimed that the gardaí were “heavy handed” in their policing of the protest and says that she herself was pushed.
She said that their behaviour was dangerous on what it is a busy south inner city roadway.
“Gardaí should be protecting the safety of the community, not the interests of Irish water,” she said.