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Man pleads guilty to intimidating Healy-Rae during rally

A protester has pleaded guilty to intimidating Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae by throwing a bottle at and blocking him during an “aggressive” rally outside Government buildings.

About 200 people held a rally outside Leinster House on 20 September as the Dáil resumed following the summer recess.

It led to several arrests, and afterwards, the independent TD condemned the conduct of some protesters as he and an intern from his office attempted to leave the area.

Dean Hickson, 22, of Griffith Parade, Finglas East Dublin, appeared again at Dublin District Court before Judge Paula Murphy today.

He was accused of intimidating Michael Healy-Rae at Kildare Street Dublin 2 on 20 September. His solicitor, Donal Quigley, confirmed he was pleading guilty and said he wished to apologise to the politician.

Hickson, who has no prior criminal convictions, was remanded on continuing bail pending sentence so that a victim impact statement could be prepared.

Michael Healy-Rae has not been required to attend the proceedings so far (file image)

Following an investigation, gardaí charged him in February.

Pearse Street Garda Chloe Rochfort obtained directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to charge Hickson under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

The DPP directed summary disposal in the District Court, which can impose a 12-month sentence and a fine, rather than a trial at the Circuit Court level, which can impose a sentence of up to five years.

Judge Murphy accepted jurisdiction.

Court Garda Sergeant Rachel Goggins told the court “the accused was among a number of aggressive protesters outside Leinster House” during an anti-government, anti-immigration protest.

At one point, the CCTV footage captured him “throwing a plastic bottle in the direction of Michael Healy-Rae, narrowly missing his head”.

During the investigation, the accused was identified from the video footage “as he physically impeded Michael Healy-Rae from entering Government buildings, which is his place of work”.

The defence was granted an order to be given copies of prosecution evidence, including video footage.

At a preliminary hearing in February, his solicitor told the judge that his client maintained “he did not block anyone going in or out”.

However today the accused did not address the court but admitted the offence through his lawyer, who added that Hickson wished to apologise to the TD.

Mr Healy-Rae, 57, has not been required to attend the proceedings so far, and Judge Murphy adjourned the case for four weeks so that gardaí could ask him if he wanted to provide a victim impact statement.

Mr Hickson, who is unemployed, was granted legal aid.

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