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Judge Patrick Durcan

Peace activist claims bail conditions ‘unconstitutional’

A 74-year-old peace activist has described as “unconstitutional” bail conditions banning him from entering Clare with the exception of court appearances.

Colm Roddy, of Bayside Walk, Sutton, Dublin 13 appeared before Ennis District Court this week where he attempted to have his “onerous” bail conditions, which he says he signed under protest, made more lenient.

Mr Roddy, along with Dave Donnellan, 56, of Reuben Street, Rialto in Dublin, who was also in court on Wednesday and made a similar application, have both been charged in relation to an alleged incursion at Shannon Airport.

It is alleged that they both caused criminal damage to a perimeter fence at Shannon Airport on May 25 of this year.

Inspector Tom Kennedy informed the court that the gardaí are awaiting instructions from the Director of Public Prosecution in relation to the case.

Bail conditions, including that the pair stay away from Clare, were imposed in May at Gort District Court by Judge James Faughnan until the case is finalised.

During this week’s sitting, Judge Patrick Durcan heard a number of applications from both defendants, who represented themselves. Both made applications for full disclosure in the case.

They stated that there were two US military planes at the airport at the time of their action and they are seeking information in relation to the aircraft. Mr Donnellan asked for the full contact details of the pilot, so that his testimony could be used as part of his defence.

Mr Roddy made an application for discovery of details of communications from the aircraft.

In both cases, Judge Durcan said it was his opinion that “maximum legal disclosure should be made available to defendants”. He stated that both parties should write to the inspector seeking disclosure, setting out what they require.

“If you have any difficulty with respect to any item, you can come before the court and I will adjudicate on the issue,” he stated.

In relation to his bail conditions, Mr Roddy outlined that the actions of a previous judge in banning people from Clare was previously overruled by a higher court.

He said the court had deemed it unconstitutional and a breach of European human rights granting free movement.

Mr Roddy stated that he objected to the bail conditions at the time they were imposed in Gort District Court and signed them “under protest”.
“I told the court I had important business in Clare and he told me that should I go to Clare, I will be back in custody,” he said.

Mr Donnellan told the court that his current bail conditions are “fairly extreme” and inhibit him in his work.

Inspector Kennedy confirmed to the court that he had not been made aware of the intention of both parties to seek a change to their bail conditions. He indicated that the gardaí would be objecting to this.

Judge Durcan noted that the bail conditions were imposed in May and this was the first time that a request to change them had been made. He advised both defendants that they should give notice to the inspector and that if so, the matter could be heard at next week’s court sitting.

Both men were remanded on continuing bail until September 14 to await directions from the DPP.

Jessica Quinn

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