THE County Registrar, Ms Geraldine O’Connor, was subjected to a barrage of abuse and threats by members of the public at last week’s Motions Court.
Almost 200 cases relating to the possession of homes from distressed mortgage holders were listed for mention.
During the morning call-over of the list, independent witnesses said, rowdy scenes developed after it emerged someone had been filming proceedings on their mobile phone.
However, as Ms O’Connor attempted to adjourn matters at 6pm, while a Donegal News reporter was present, there were strong objections from the public gallery.
The protesters became increasingly vocal and one man told Ms O’Connor: “You will be held accountable for this – shame on you.”
Another asked what the cost to the tax-payer was for this “sham of a court”, while another shouted at the County Registrar: “Sleep well Miss, a lot of people won’t make it through the night. You have blood on your hands.”
There was a strong garda presence maintained throughout the afternoon, at the request of the County Registrar, and at the conclusion of the court at least ten officers were in the courtroom.
A woman whose case hearing had earlier been interrupted, when the situation over the mobile phone developed, had not had her case concluded.
“You promised people here you would hear their cases…this is unbelievable,” said one protester.
Ms O’Connor agreed to hear from the woman whose case had started in the morning and told her: “I apologise that this disruption started in the middle of your case.”
The applicant said she was contesting the matters before the motions court and Ms O’Connor said that she would “put it forward into the judges list as it is contested”.
The woman replied, however, that she did not consent to it going into the Judge’s List.
“You haven’t established the facts of the case, you haven’t heard her statement,” shouted a voice from the assembled members of the public.
Another, shouting at Ms O’Connor, stated: “The unlawful activity in here is unbelievable. You will be held accountable. People are committing suicide every day of the week.”
There was a large round of applause and a man who had been vocal in his objections was eventually asked to leave the court room by gardai, having been given a number of warnings to desist from his behaviour.
The applicant whose case was being heard continued: “All I wanted to do was read my statement to you. I have been rudely interrupted by a solicitor and I am not used to being here. I am nervous enough.”
Members in the public gallery continued to voice their opinions on the case and told Ms O’Connor that the applicant had “authorised any one of us to speak for her”.
The County Registrar said that she would adjourn the case back to May and told the applicant she could “forget about it until then”.
“We have nearly 200 cases here today and a very large number are possession cases, very few of which were granted,” added Ms O’Connor.
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.