Dozens of anti-water charge campaigners have demonstrated outside the Criminal Courts of Justice over charges brought against people involved in a protest at Jobstown last year.
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy appeared with 15 others accused of false imprisonment. They were served books of evidence and their cases were put forward to be heard at the Circuit Court in January.
Before the hearing Mr Murphy said demonstrations would take place before every court hearing concerning the Jobstown protest because “the trials that we are facing are an attack on the right to protest”.
Mr Murphy, who said he will plead not guilty, said the defendants are concerned about facing substantial jail time if convicted in a jury trial at the Circuit Court.
“People are understandably very nervous. They are not people, including myself, who are used to facing very serious criminal charges,” he told reporters before the hearing.
Protesters outside the court sang Christmas carols and chanted anti-water charge slogans as well as “What do we want? Drop the charges. When do we want it? Now.”
Thirty-two men and women, including two TDS and two councillors, aged from 18 to 64, from across the capital were summonsed to face a special afternoon sitting of Dublin District Court last month.
Charges were brought in connection with three separate cases which are all connected to anti-Irish Water demonstrations, including last year’s Jobstown protest involving Joan Burton.
The Labour leader and her entourage had left a graduation just after midday on November 15th, 2014, at An Cosan at Jobstown, in Tallaght, an education facility that serves the community, when a demonstration was held which delayed her for about two hours.