Firm building emergency housing for Ukrainians gets injunction to prevent protester site ‘blockade’

Pastures New Accommodation says up to 50 protesters have been preventing people and vehicles from entering or leaving

A company constructing emergency accommodation facilities in Co Kildare for hundreds of Ukrainian refugees has secured a temporary High Court injunction restraining protesters from blocking the entrances to the site.

Total Experience Limited, trading as Pastures New Accommodation, is building the facilities at Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare, for families fleeing the war that began two years ago.

It claims its work is being hampered by people opposed to State provision of accommodation and who are mounting a 24-hour “blockade” of the site’s main entrances.

The company claims that in recent days up to 50 protesters have been preventing people and vehicles from entering or leaving the site by using tactics, including forming “a human shield” and parking cars in front of the entrances.


These alleged activities amount to a nuisance and an unreasonable interference with the company’s work, it claims.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey granted a temporary injunction, on an ex parte basis (only the plaintiff was represented), restraining two of the alleged protesters from deliberately preventing or obstructing entrances from the site.

The interim order is also against “persons unknown” who are also alleged to be obstructing the entrances.

The firm has been contracted to provide 985 beds in 387 cabins as well as a dining marquee, laundry and recreation facilities at the site.

The facility is 90 per cent complete and is due to be ready by early March, the court heard. However, the company claims, the actions may prevent the facility from operating on time.

Seeking the injunction, Gary McCarthy SC, appearing with Barry Mansfield BL, for the plaintiff, said his client was not attempting to interfere with anyone’s lawful right to peacefully protest.

However, the blocking of the entrances is unlawful and creates a safety risk, counsel said.

The blockade commenced two days ago, when some 50 people prevented vehicles from entering the site.

The only way workers could leave was with Garda intervention. The protesters have acted in an aggressive and intimidating manner, he said.

It is also claimed some of the foreign workers at the site were racially abused while Irish staff were referred to as “traitors”.

Counsel said his client is also concerned about aggressive social media posts made by various people regarding the protest.

One post stated “All them trucks need is [fire emoji], while others stated that “[Four fire emojis] only solution man!”; “put barrels at the entrance and make fires in them. Big fires”; “put a few nails through timber and lay it down in front of the truck tyres”.

“Burn it. It will take a war are the Irish ready”.

Counsel said his client is fearful matters may escalate. He noted other buildings have been burnt after they were earmarked as accommodation for refugees.

Mr Justice Sanfey accepted the matter was urgent. He granted a temporary injunction and scheduled for the case to return next week.

However, the judge said, the parties are free to return to court before then should the need arise.

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