Posts Tagged ‘Pallaskenry’

Co-authored with Elaine O’Sullivan


An interview with Orla

On Friday 9th June 2006, five people found themselves served with notices to appear in the High Court to answer as to why they allegedly disobeyed an order from the court, preventing them from obstructing contractors from connecting up the polluted river Deel as their main water supply.

This issue has been developing in Pallaskenry in Limerick, where there is opposition to the County Council’s intentions for the local water supply. The current situation came about following protests against the plan to place the local community on a larger group scheme for the provision of water. At present the locality is served by a supply of water from a local freshwater spring. The larger group scheme would mean that the community would instead be served by water from the River Deel, which is highly polluted.

This article contains a report from this court appearance.

Excerpt:
Orla Kaiser was last to present her version of the issue… She read from a statement that she had prepared earlier and had amended on the train from Limerick. Despite being very nervous her voice held no tremor or apology. She began with a quote from an EU directive:

“Water is not a commercial product like any other, but rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.”

She admitted to violating the order against her. The whole courtroom erupted into applause at this point, the judge even managed a smile. Those representing Limerick County Council, neither clapped, smiled nor approved.

Previous indymedia articles on the issue: Echoes of Rossport as Pallaskenry 5 face Jail | Limerick County Council, who are you working for? | A Call For Support | Why Must We Go to Prison for the Safety of their Families? | Support for Pallaskenry & Bleach Lough Spring Water Retention Group | No Spring Water – No Vote! | UPDATE: 2 more prepared to risk jail

Full Court Report:
The High Court today found out why it is not wise to cross a woman from Limerick, and in particular, a redhead.

Donal O Brien, the spokesman and inspiration for many involved in this protest was one of those who was named and called to appear before the court. He was unable to attend this sitting due to the fact that he is seriously ill in hospital due to all the pressures mounted on him by Limerick County Council. One of his children is also currently sitting exams. Our hearts and our best wishes go out to him and his family. We only met him last week for the first time and he impressed us a lot. We left Pallaskenry knowing that the people of Pallaskenry were very well represented. Donal is a man of excellent convictions and high moral fortitude and is a man who will and has readily put the needs of others above his own.

Get well soon Donal.

Leaving the Court The Judge arrived in chamber in a smart dark suit, offset by a light blue tie.

Other issues were dealt with in a business-like fashion before the case in question arose.

Nothing untoward happened with the first two defendants. Both agreed to abide by the court’s orders.

Next up was Noreen Ryan, a Councillor on Limerick County Council. Noreen told the judge that she had not taken part in any protest or obstruction last Wednesday. She was there, she said, to represent the people she was elected to represent. She told us earlier that there were two other councillors who were now taking the part of the peoples of Kildimo and Pallaskenry. She spoke of a vote taken by the supreme body of the County Council in 1997, to allow the people in question continued access to the water supply from the Bleach Lough. She said that she’d never heard of any resolution or vote that has countered this. She gave an undertaking to continue to obey the law as she has always done and that for her the protest will continue internally within Limerick County Council.

I felt heartened by all this, but was beginning to think the cause lost. Orla must have sensed this because she looked back at me, smiled and gave me a reassuring wink.

It worked.

Orla Kaiser was last to present her version of the issue.

Dressed in a fetching light grey skirt and white blouse, vividly contrasted by her flaming red hair, she stood and faced the judge.

She pointed out that she had been unable to seek legal representation due to the sneaky tactic employed by the council. They served her late Friday evening, as they had done with all the others.

She read from a statement that she had prepared earlier and had ammended on the train from Limerick. Despite being very nervous her voice held no tremor or apology.

She began with a quote from an EU directive: “Water is not a commercial product like any other, but rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.”

She admitted to violating the order against her. The whole courtroom erupted into applause at this point, the judge even managed a smile. Those representing Limerick County Council, neither clapped, smiled nor approved.

She went on to illustrate how the council has avoided ever discussing the issue at hand other than issuing orders and threats.

“LCC are trying to quieten the voices of Kildimo and Pallaskenry by forcing an injunction on local campaigners. This is despite the fact that a Judicial review is to be held on Thursday…..”

At this point the prosecution made some smarmy remarks, but was laughed at by the courtroom, in general and literally.

The Judge had to explain the difference between what a ‘protest’ is and what ‘obstruction’ is to yet more laughter.

“It’s obstruction, not protest. People have the right to protest!”

Facing the mass media The Judge was forced at this point to ask Orla, whether she would obey the court’s order.

The courtroom went silent.

Orla pointed out to the court that she is a nursing mother and that she has two children, the youngest being six months new.

“It is not of my free will to disobey the court of this country, my country, and it breaks my heart that it has come to this….”

“I cannot give an undertaking that I will end the protest at the ‘white line’ in Pallaskenry.”

The judge did not want to jail this brave and remarkable woman, and all but begged the prosecution to come to some arrangement.

Result – Orla is not in prison and will continue to defy the court order. The Judge said he was, “happy to allow the motion to be adjourned,” until this Thursday to be decided in parallel with the Judicial review.

The judge adjourned the case and all of us, including red-faced council representatives left the stifling courtroom.

We all gave three cheers for the defendants before leaving to face a media circus outside.

I look forwards to the Rally to be held in Pallaskenry at 9pm tonight. I’m delighted that Orla had to buy a ticket for the return trip to Limerick (she’d only bought a one-way ticket to Dublin this morning) and that she’ll have to now compose a speech for the party/protest tonight.

Related Links:
Echoes of Rossport as Pallaskenry 5 face Jail. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76575
Limerick County Council, who are you working for? http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76531
A Call For Support http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76488
Why Must We Go to Prison for the Safety of their Families? http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76451
Support for Pallaskenry & Bleach Lough Spring Water Retention Group. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76464
No Spring Water – No Vote! http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74440

Orla Leaves With Copy Of The Constitution, Baby Son And Partner
Orla Leaves With Copy Of The Constitution, Baby Son And Partner
Noreen Ryan Takes A Turn In Front Of The Cameras
Noreen Ryan Takes A Turn In Front Of The Cameras

Joe Higgins In A Supportive Role
Joe Higgins In A Supportive Role

Bleach Lough
Bleach Lough

Alternative link to article:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76583

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