Anglo Avenger arrested after cherry picker protest

Joe McNamara (41), of Salthill, Galway, leaving court on Tuesday night after he was released from custody. He had earlier been charged with dangerous driving relating to an incident at Leinster House Tuesday morning. Pic Courtpix

Joe McNamara (41), of Salthill, Galway, leaving court on Tuesday night after he was released from custody. He had earlier been charged with dangerous driving relating to an incident at Leinster House Tuesday morning. Pic Courtpix

A determined Galway-based developer, self-styled as the ‘Anglo Avenger’, struck again by parking a cherry picker, emblazoned with protest slogans, at the gates of the Dáil Eireann on the morning before the Budget announcement.

Achill native Joseph McNamara (41 ), of Dun na Carraige, Salthill, Galway, was arrested on Tuesday following a protest at Leinster House. It is believed that at around 7.20am he drove a cherry picker down Kildare Street up to the gates and hoisted the placard-covered crane arm up to its full height.

According to reports the protester parked the vehicle there for more than an hour while playing Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ and the spagetti western ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’. The slogans glued to the side of the crane read: “Winner - Dermot Ahern €310,000 pay off: 4 million pension - The losers: Minimum wage; the sick and elderly; the students; welfare” and “Anglo Toxic Bank”.

It is understood that the control panel to the crane had been sealed off, preventing gardai from bringing the protester down. It was not until 8.45am that the crane arm was lowered and McNamara was arrested and taken to Pearse Street Garda Station.

The Galway-based former property developer was then brought before a sitting of Dublin District Court on Tuesday morning and charged with one count of dangerous driving. He was remanded in custody after gardai objected to him being released on the grounds that he had breached the terms of his previous bail.

McNamara had been out on bail in relation to an alleged incident in September of this year where a cement truck, with slogans such as “Toxic Bank” and “All Policiticians Should Be Sacked”, was driven right up to the gates of Leinster House on the first day of the new Dáil term.

McNamara was later released on continuing bail after his legal team applied to the High Court under Article 40 of the Constitution, to challenge the State’s right to keep him in custody. According to reports, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC told the court that his client had arrived at the Dáil in the cherry picker to carry out an legitimate protest. It was also stated that the vehicle had not been driven wildly.

McNamara was then released from custody and remanded on continuing bail to appear in court again next Tuesday.

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