The High Court has ordered the release of a man who was placed in custody this morning following a protest outside Leinster House.

Joe McNamara, originally from Achill Island, Co Mayo, but with an address in Dun na Carraige, Blackrock in Galway, was charged with dangerous driving after a small crane was parked outside the gates of the House.

The cherry-picker was bedecked with anti-Government slogans.

Mr McNamara, 41, was refused bail by Dublin District Court and was remanded in custody until next Tuesday.

He is already charged with criminal damage following an incident at the end of September when a cement truck was driven to the gates of Leinster House.

The judge in today's case refused bail on the grounds that he had breached the bail terms imposed in the previous case.

Mr McNamara's lawyers challenged the legality of his continued detention in the High Court.

His Senior Counsel, Michael O'Higgins, told the court that we live in troubled times and that Mr McNamara was engaged in a legitimate protest.

His lawyers argued that Mr McNamara's solicitor was not allowed to make submissions by the judge at the earlier district court hearing.

They said the judge should not have refused to grant bail.

A large force of gardaí is present at Leinster House this evening.

The front gates and entrances to the building have been shut. Kildare Street and Molesworth Street remain closed to traffic.