Gardaí insist Murphy arrest was in line with procedures
Analysis: Sources say many TDs have been arrested in the past for varying offences
The surprise arrest of TD Paul Murphy and his co-accused has led to allegations of heavy-handedness and political policing on the part of the Garda.
However, a number of serving and retired Garda members with experience of planning arrest operations such as that involving Murphy, on suspicion of the false imprisonment of Tánaiste Joan Burton at a water charges protest last November, said there was nothing untoward or heavy- handed about the arrests.
They insisted that many TDs, including high-profile ministers such as Ray Burke, have been arrested in the past for varying offences. They said it was important that those involved in politics were treated like everybody else when alleged offences came to light.
Why the surprise call at 7am?
“But, in this case, you are dealing with people who are part of a campaign that specialises in demonstrations and some have turned pretty nasty.
“So if you ask Paul Murphy and the others to be at a Garda station at a set time, you get a big crowd outside a station. And you need to put in place an operation to police it.”
A retired Garda member with years of experience in planning arrests agrees.
“When the file goes to the DPP, the people making a decision want to see that you’ve put the suspect through the arrest process and everything has been put to them.”
Why so many gard
aí used for the arrests? A serving Garda officer said he was not surprised that four teams of six
members were used to arrest Mr Murphy and the three other suspects.
“Six is not a lot if you consider two are doing the actual arresting,” he said. “Four other members is not a massive number to keep people calm if you are delayed at a house and a small crowd starts to gather very quickly. We’ve seen that lots of times with protesters targeting the guys putting in water meters.”
Who would have known about the operation?
They said Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and most of her assistants would have been aware in advance the arrests were due to take place.
“There is no way the Commissioner would be hearing about a TD being arrested through the radio or on the internet,” said one source.
“The members on the day may have been told to parade at Tallaght Garda station at around 5am to be briefed on an arrest operation.
“But you would keep these things tight and most of them would not have known who they were going to be arresting until they were briefed.”