Ballinamore demonstrators urge High Court to lift injunction against them

Six people who were the subject of an injunction over protests outside apartment accommodation for asylum seekers in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, have urged the High Court to lift or vary the orders against them.

The six, including a local Fine Gael councillor, an auctioneer and a pharmacist, say the injunction prevents them from going about their normal daily lives including going to a supermarket and a beauty salon.

They are also strongly contesting claims by the owners of the apartments that they acted unlawfully during the protests, the court heard.

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Mr Justice Max Barrett, on Friday, put back to next week consideration of an application by the six to lift or vary the injunction. The judge also said he is prepared to hear the full injunction matter before Christmas.

Last month, Remcoll 2 Ltd, owners of the apartments at Ballinamore’s Rock Centre, obtained the interim injunction preventing protestors from interfering with work to fit out and complete the apartments for 25 families seeking asylum.

The protests, which the court heard included a 24-hour picket and a seven-foot fence being erected around the complex to prevent workers and security getting inside, ended shortly after the injunction was granted. The families have since moved in, the court heard.

The injunction applied to all persons with knowledge of it and to Councillor Ita Reynolds, auctioneer Gordon Hughes, pharmacist Brian Cribbin, local businessman Adrian Smith and to Fred Walsh and Desmond Wisley.

When the case returned before Mr Justice Barrett on Friday, Anthony Thuillier BL, for Remcoll 2, said his side had only received affidavits on behalf of the six named defendants on Thursday and needed time to consider them.

The defendants were making very serious allegations including that Remcoll’s main deponent had not told the truth in his affidavit when the injunction was obtained, counsel said.

Maura McNally SC (instructed by Daniel Hughes solicitor) for the six, said she had no difficulty with an adjournment but her clients were concerned about how long it would be in circumstances where the injunciton was having an impact on their daily lives.

In particular, Cllr Reynolds would be unable to attend a reception welcoming the new families or do something as simple as attend a beauty salon in the Rock Centre because of the nature of the injunction. Other defendants could not even go to the Tesco supermarket in the centre because of it.

Her clients did not engage in any unlawful behaviour and counsel was seeking either the lifting of the injunction and dealing with matters by way of undertakings from the defendants or a variation of the order to allow them go about their daily lives.

“They are ordinary people who do not want this hanging over them for Christmas”, counsel said. It was a “very prohibitive order on six ordinary decent people in the town.”

The judge said the defendants could come in any day next week to seek to vary the order and he would be prepared to sit specially to hear the entire injunction matter before Christmas.