Outgoing Independent TD Joan Collins and ten co-defendants have gone on trial in the District Court today on public order charges arising out of a protest over water charges in Dublin.

Ms Collins and her co-defendants are accused of failing to comply with a garda's direction to leave the vicinity at Parnell Road, Harold's Cross in April of last year.   

The maximum sentences possible in the District Court are eight and 12 months.

The trial before Judge Aeneas McCarthy is expected to last three days.

Mark Ryder was working for GMC/Sierra, the company installing water meters, on the morning of 20 April last year.

He said he and his co-workers were surrounded by protesters on Parnell Road who stopped them taking equipment out of their vans and stood inside their work zone.

He said it was the same thing every day.

He said it was intimidating to see people surrounding them and shouting abuse.

He said there was a lot of commotion, which went on for around two hours.

Sergeant David Lynch said there was a group of around 30 protesters.  

He said he was concerned about protesters trespassing and blocking the footpath. He said the language being used was "disgraceful".

He said he talked to Ms Collins and others.  

He said Ms Collins said the protesters would not be moving as they were entitled to protest.

The sergeant said he gave the group a direction under the Public Order Act, asking them to leave as he was afraid there would be a breach of the peace. He said the protesters did not leave and became more abusive and aggressive.

Along with Ms Collins, there are nine other defendants.

Patrick Burke, 50, of Dolphin House Rialto, faces a singe charge for failing to comply with a garda's direction to leave the vicinity. 

Councillor Patrick Dunne, 48, with an address at St Gerard's Road, Greenhills has the same charge.

Edel Kenny, 39, of Monasterboice Road, is accused of failing to comply with a garda's direction but has an additional charge for obstructing a garda.

Sofian Murphy ,29, from Dolphin Road, Drimnagh, is accused of failing to comply with a garda's direction and also has an additional charge for obstructing a garda.

Oisin O Raw, 18, from Derravaragh Road in Terenure has a single charge of failing to comply with a garda direction in connection with the incident.

Gavin Byrne, 42, of Temple Manor Way, Greenhills, Dublin 12, is also accused of accused of failing to comply with a garda's direction.

Aaron Healy, 25, from Saul Road, Crumlin, also has a charge for not obeying the garda direction. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest when he did not show up for the trial.

Patrick Waine, 56, of St Malachy's Drive, Walkinstown, John O'Reilly, 62, from Leighland Road, Crumlin and Andrew Canning, 55, from Clanbrassil Close, Clanbrassil St, Dublin 8 also have the same charge.

The trial continues.