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File photo of Gemma O’Doherty arriving at the Four Courts in Dublin in May. Sam Boal/

Gemma O'Doherty could face further criminal charges over bridge protest

A video of the incident went viral on social media platforms last month.

FORMER JOURNALIST GEMMA O’Doherty could face further criminal charges arising out of an incident on a footbridge over the N11 in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, last month.

O’Doherty, an anti-immigration campaigner and leader of one of several rival groups opposed to the government’s restrictions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, was arrested on 28 August 2020 on public order offences in relation to the erection of banners on a pedestrian bridge over the main Dublin to Wexford road.

Sergeant Tony Flynn told a sitting of Bray District Court today that gardaí were still awaiting direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether further charges would be brought against O’Doherty arising out of the incident.

Details of the arrest, charge and caution of O’Doherty by prosecuting garda, Joseph Waldron, were provided to Judge David Kennedy.

A video of the incident, which showed gardaí removing banners erected over the footbridge and O’Doherty’s arrest, went viral on social media platforms.

Gardaí were alerted to the banners over the flyover pedestrian bridge on the N11 following a number of complaints.

A decision was taken to remove the banners, which contained anti-facemask and anti-vaccination messages, after gardaí observed motorists swerving as a result of being distracted by the signs.


O’Doherty (52) is charged with engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace under section six of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act at the scene.

Anyone convicted of the offence faces a maximum fine of €500 or prison term of three months or both.

The former Irish Independent journalist is also charged under section 24 of the same legislation with refusing to provide her name and address when demanded by a member of An Garda Síochána on grounds she was suspected of having committed an offence.

Anyone convicted of a section 24 offence is liable to a fine of up to €500 or a six-month jail sentence or both.

O’Doherty, who was not required to attend court, remains on continuing bail until the matter comes before Bray District Court again on 2 November.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

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Seán McCárthaigh