A Galway-based developer, dubbed the ‘Anglo Avenger’, has vowed to retire from the protest game for good following a court case this week in which the charge against him of dangerous driving was withdrawn.
Achill born Joe McNamara (41 ) with an address at Dun Na Carraige, Salthill, Galway, was charged with the offence after driving a cherry picker emblazoned with protest slogans up to the gates of Leinster House on the morning of the Budget on December 7, 2010.
McNamara, who had previously entered a plea of not guilty to the charge, appeared at Dublin District Court on Tuesday where Judge William Early ordered that the charge be withdrawn.
In a statement, McNamara’s solicitor Cahir O’Higgins said that his client was relieved with the outcome of the case and that the protest had been about the discontent with the way the country was being run and the way he was treated. He added that there will be no more protests and that McNamara wishes to get on with his life.
In March of this year McNamara, who reportedly owes Anglo Irish Bank €3.5 million, succeeded in contesting the charges of criminal damage and dangerous driving relating to an incident in which he drove a cement mixer truck right up to the gates of Leinster House last September on the first day of the new Dáil term.
The cement truck which was festooned with slogans such as “Toxic Bank” and “Anglo” caused minor damage to the gateway’s paintwork. The Dublin District Court had heard at the time that the vehicle had been defective, that the brake lines had been cut and it could only be towed away using specialist equipment. However, Judge Ann Watkin dismissed the charges on the basis that there was a doubt as to whether the truck has been made defective while en route or if it occurred after it was brought to a halt. McNamara had pleaded not guilty on the grounds that he had been exercising his rights to express opinions.