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Man charged with firework attack during anti-lockdown protest

The 30-year-old faces several charges in relation to a demonstration in Dublin City Centre.

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Merriman is accused of launching fireworks at Gardai (Niall Carson/PA)

Merriman is accused of launching fireworks at Gardai (Niall Carson/PA)

Merriman is accused of launching fireworks at Gardai (Niall Carson/PA)

A man has appeared in court suspected of launching fireworks at Gardai during an anti-lockdown protest.

Jake Merriman, 30, of Meadowlands Avenue, Monkstown, South Dublin was charged with five offences related to his attendance at the protest demonstration which spilled into violence at the weekend.

He was charged with three Section 11 offences, one of discharging an “eight-shot cannon firework” at Gardai and two incidents of throwing glass bottles at officers.

Two Section 9(5) offences related to possession of glass bottles with intent to throw them at Gardai.

Judge Brian O’Shea said there were “no circumstances in which this could be viewed as a minor offence”.

Dublin District Court at the Criminal Courts of Justice heard there was significant evidence in the case, including CCTV footage and witness statements in relation to identification.

Merriman, who was granted bail, was seen visibly shaking in court as the case was heard.

Arresting officer Detective Sgt Patrick Traynor opposed bail based on the seriousness of the charges before the court and the sentences they carry.

He said the accused “made no attempt to conceal his identity” during the incidents and added that investigations are ongoing.

The judge said that while he appreciated concerns over the seriousness of the charges he did not want to incarcerate the accused for up to a year before trial.

Judge O’Shea remanded him on a 200 euro bail bond for six weeks. Merriman is scheduled to appear again on April 14 2021 for trial and indictment.

He refused jurisdiction and held that the case should go forward to a higher court.

Merriman was ordered to sign on twice a week at Shankhill Garda Station, stay away from the Dublin 2 area including Grafton St and to keep the peace.

The accused’s solicitor Niall O’Connor made an application for legal aid.

The court heard Merriman had “a business in relation to power washing” but was now unemployed and receiving the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP).

The judge agreed that a second address where the accused is residing not be read in open court in case of “repercussions” owing to the “fanfare” surrounding the case.

Merriman is said to have avoided TV cameras upon leaving the court by exiting through the smoking area and climbing over a wall at the rear of the building, according to multiple sources.

The incidents took place during an anti-lockdown protest near Grafton St in Dublin City Centre on Saturday.

There was a heavy garda presence in the city centre ahead of the protest, which started at around 2pm.

There were 23 other arrests.

Three officers were injured during the protest, with one requiring hospital treatment.

Hundreds of people, who were not wearing face masks, took part in the demonstration.

Gardai used batons to push protesters away from the park.

Videos of the protest shows a demonstrator point a firework at gardai before it went off, while other missiles and items were thrown at gardai.

Protesters were prevented from gathering in the park after the Office of Public Works closed the gates to the public.

PA


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