Senior gardaí to be criticised in review of Jobstown policing

‘They looked at what went wrong and are trying to ensure it never happens again’

 

An internal Garda review into the policing of the Jobstown water charges protest in 2014 is expected to criticise senior gardaí.

The report, which is being compiled by Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien and is due to be completed within weeks, is expected to highlight poor decision-making at senior levels.

It examined the policing of the protest and the Garda investigation. It did not examine evidence given by gardaí during the trial of TD Paul Murphy. He and five other anti-water charges protesters were acquitted of falsely imprisoning then tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell in their car for several hours during the protest in Jobstown, Tallaght west Dublin on November 15th 2015.

“The team in place are finalising the report which has looked at the lessons learned and a full and comprehensive review has taken place under the guidance of Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Brien,” a senior Garda source told The Irish Times.

“They have evaluated what went wrong during the protest and how can it be prevented from happening again.

Final stages

“It’s entering the final stages and it’s going to be hard-hitting; no individual blame will be pointed to. On a broader level they have looked at what went wrong and are trying to ensure that it never happens again.”

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan told the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year the Dáil allegation by Mr Murphy that gardaí committed perjury during the trial would not be reviewed.

On Wednesday it emerged that criminal charges have been dropped against 11 people due to stand trial over the alleged false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton at the same protest.

One group of individuals had been due to go on trial from October 2nd.

Prosecution abandoned

Mr Murphy said the decision by the DPP to abandon such a high-profile prosecution would strengthen calls for an inquiry into the investigation of the policing surrounding the protest.

There was a relatively muted response in Jobstown on Thursday to news that the charges had been dropped.

Nicola Nolan, originally from Tallaght village but working in Jobstown, said she was happy to hear about the development.

“I think [the decision to prosecute] was all over-reaction. I don’t think it was as bad as they made out, not when you saw the footage and heard statements and stuff,” she said. “Maybe the media was to blame a bit, maybe we saw and heard too much.”

A more critical view was expressed by a 71-year-old woman and local resident, who did not wish to be named.

“I didn’t think it was nice what they [the protesters] did, that’s my opinion. I wouldn’t say it to anyone else,” said the pensioner, who has lived in Jobstown for almost 40 years.

“They could have been more civil. They could have had a peaceful protest without all the pushing.”