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Bleach Lough Court Case: "Water is not a commercial product like any other, but rather, a heritage"

category national | crime and justice | feature author Tuesday June 13, 2006 18:59author by Elaine and Seán Ryan Report this post to the editors

Orla defies Court Order and vows to continue to do so!

Orla speaks to Indymedia & Revolt Video On Friday evening last, five people found themselves served with notices to appear in the High Court this morning 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 morning’s 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 - from the newswire:
The High Court today found out why it is not wise to cross a woman from Limerick, and in particular, a redhead.

On Friday evening last, five people found themselves served with notices to appear in the High Court this morning 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.

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

Better photo
Better photo

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   A Bad Deel For Pallaskenry     Elaine    Mon Jun 12, 2006 20:45 
   maith thu orla     caitlin    Mon Jun 12, 2006 23:56 
   Nice To See Joe Higgins There...     Elaine    Tue Jun 13, 2006 01:08 
   More suck for your buck     Seán Ryan    Tue Jun 13, 2006 01:31 
   This morning at the four courts     Madam K    Tue Jun 13, 2006 01:32 
   Reprehensible     Seán Ryan    Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:48 
   Women's Issues     chris murray    Tue Jun 13, 2006 17:22 
   Solidarity with the Pallaskenry/Kildimo people     Joan Collins Cllr Dublin City Council    Tue Jun 13, 2006 18:56 
   Rally at Pallaskenry     Dominic Haugh    Tue Jun 13, 2006 19:25 
 10   God given water     number 6    Wed Jun 14, 2006 08:30 
 11   fluoride poisioning     Sean    Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:38 
 12   Bravo     John McDermott    Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:47 
 13   fluoride poisioning     Sean    Wed Jun 14, 2006 13:21 
 14   "We're on the move"     Vercingetorix    Wed Jun 14, 2006 14:34 
 15   fluoride poisioning     sean    Wed Jun 14, 2006 14:45 
 16   Old ways were the best     Michael B.    Wed Jun 14, 2006 17:26 
 17   Injustice is always unacceptable     Boadicea (Iceni Tribe)    Wed Jun 14, 2006 18:19 
 18   Fellow travellers.     know152    Wed Jun 14, 2006 20:18 
 19   water water everywhere     aqua    Thu Jun 15, 2006 13:34 
 20   hence...     meterman    Thu Jun 15, 2006 14:05 
 21   god..... not council given water.     number 6    Thu Jun 15, 2006 15:16 
 22   Wake up yourself !     wigs on the green    Thu Jun 15, 2006 15:47 
 23   response to no. 6     cybspi    Thu Jun 15, 2006 15:47 
 24   CYBSPI     number 6    Thu Jun 15, 2006 23:01 
 25   Admonition     wigs on the green    Thu Jun 15, 2006 23:20 
 26   Link to follow up story     Seán Ryan    Fri Jun 16, 2006 15:09 
 27   Read the facts not the pictures     Par O'Noid    Sat Jun 17, 2006 00:14 
 28   What is the source ?     mr. sceptic tank    Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:10 
 29   Reply to Mr Septic Tank     Par O'Noid    Sun Jun 18, 2006 01:30 
 30   Proudnot     anon    Sun Jun 18, 2006 23:09 
 31   Right to Opinion     Waiting    Mon Jun 19, 2006 00:50 
 32   interesting data,     barry    Mon Jun 19, 2006 01:54 
 33   A thought ...     Banba, Fotia, and Eriu.    Mon Jun 19, 2006 08:34 
 34   Aarhus     thinking    Mon Jun 19, 2006 13:23 
 35   Who court is the ball in?     know152    Mon Jun 19, 2006 14:42 
 36   Full story here (or nearly)     Seamuseen    Mon Jun 19, 2006 15:47 
 37   Water supply issue     kildimo_local    Tue Jun 20, 2006 18:35 
 38   Interruptions are not as a result of the Bleach Lough being depleted     Seán Ryan    Tue Jun 20, 2006 21:04 
 39   Just A Few Photos...     Elaine    Wed Jun 21, 2006 04:46 
 40   URANIUM?     number 6    Fri Jun 23, 2006 22:00 
 41   URANIUM?     number 6    Fri Jun 23, 2006 22:01 
 42   answer to ...god given water article june 14     concerned citizen    Sat Jun 24, 2006 02:13 


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