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‘End the Lockdown’ protesters arrested outside Four Courts as Gemma O'Doherty and John Waters make appeal

During the incident, six men and five women were arrested at various locations along the quays for allegedly failing or refusing to provide their names and addresses in accordance with The Health Act 1947.


The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin

Eleven ‘End the Lockdown’ protesters were arrested outside the Four Courts in Dublin yesterday for alleged breaches of Covid restrictions and public order offences.

The protest coincided with the appearance at the Court of Appeal of Gemma O’Doherty and John Waters who were seeking to overturn a High Court refusal to permit them to challenge the constitutionality of laws introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A decision on the appeal was reserved.

But while the matter was being heard in court, gardai allege that a number of people gathered on Inns Quay in the vicinity of the Four Courts at around 9:45am.

"Garda members engaged with the gathered protesters over a period of time,” the Garda Press Office said in a statement this evening.

“Following persistent lack of compliance with public health regulations and directions from An Garda Síochána, gardaí deployed public order personnel to support uniform gardaí who proceeded to make lawful demands for names and addresses from a number of protestors.”

During the incident, six men and five women were arrested at various locations along the quays for allegedly failing or refusing to provide their names and addresses in accordance with The Health Act 1947.

They were taken to the Bridewell, Pearse Street, Kevin Street and Store Street garda stations.

One man was subsequently charged with failing to provide a name and address and appeared before the District Court at the Criminal Courts of Justice and has been remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill District Court this morning.

Three other men and one woman were charged with various offences and released on station bail while four women were issued with Fixed Payment Notices.

Another man was released and a file is to be prepared for the DPP.

Meanwhile, the President of the Court of Appeal (CoA) Mr Justice George Birmingham said the three-judge court hoped to give its decision as soon as they can in what was a complex matter.

In judicial review proceedings against the State and the Minister for Health, with the Dáil, Seanad and Ceann Comhairle as notice parties, the appellants had sought to have various legislative measures declared unconstitutional and flawed.

Ms O’Doherty, and Mr Waters claimed the High Court's decision refusing them permission to bring their challenge against the laws was wrong and that they didn't get a fair hearing before the lower courts.

They also expressed their unhappiness that "concerned members of the public" were not allowed to attend the hearings.

It meant the hearing was "in camera" and not in public, said Ms O’Doherty.

Earlier, Ms O'Doherty said the restrictions introduced to counter a virus she described as the "common cold" were "barbaric".

She said the Irish people and the economy were suffering as a result of draconian and unconstitutional measures brought in over an "alleged pandemic".

She added that she was not happy to be asked, by Mr Justice Birmingham at outset of the hearing, to wear a mask in the courtroom.

Ms O'Doherty said masks did more harm than good, adding they were a health risk .

She also questioned the use of methods such as social distancing, the accuracy of Covid-19 testing and the safety of Covid-19 vaccines, and if asymptomatic people with Covid-19 present a risk to others.

Ms O'Doherty also questioned the accuracy of the official number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 claiming that a person who died after "falling off a roof" was classified as a death from the virus.

Mr Waters said the CoA should set aside a High Court judgment that was "deeply tainted".

He compared the restrictions imposed over the last nine months to those introduced after a national emergency was declared by the Irish Government in 1939 after WW2 broke out.

Michael Collins SC, with Patrick McCann SC, for the Minister and the State, said the applicants' appeal should be dismissed.

Counsel added that the applicants believe the pandemic was "a conspiracy" involving the state, the HSE and the HSE-funded media for monetary purposes, and that the state was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

There was no evidence to support those assertions either, counsel.

Francis Kieran Bl for the notice parties said the appeal should be dismissed. Some of their submissions were "Bermuda Triangle stuff".

Last May, the High Court’s Mr Justice Charles Meenan refused to grant them leave and said their claims were not arguable.

While the applicants are physically in the courtroom the three judges and lawyers for the State respondents attended via video link.

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