Burton associate ‘kicked and beaten’ in Jobstown protest, claims Begg

‘Some of the violence last weekend was not in the interest of workers,’ says ICTU head

A car carrying Tánaiste Joan Burton is seen surrounded by protestors in Tallaght last weekend.

A car carrying Tánaiste Joan Burton is seen surrounded by protestors in Tallaght last weekend.

 

A woman who works with Tánaiste Joan Burton was “badly kicked and beaten” by anti-water charge protesters last weekend, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg has claimed.

Mr Begg said he personally knew the woman concerned. He said the kind of violence witnessed at some of the anti-water charge demonstrations was not in the interest of workers.

Speaking to journalists after addressing the TEEU conference in Kilkenny Mr Begg said: “I happened to know one of the people who was in the Tánaiste’s car (at the time of the protest in Tallaght last Saturday), a young woman and she was very badly kicked and beaten by some of these people.

“What is happening there is not in the interest of workers, that kind of behaviour.”

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy rejected the claim. He said the alleged attack did not take place and that Mr Begg’s comments were a scurrilous attempt to demonise the Jobstown protesters.

“It’s absolutely untrue. This hasn’t been mentioned for a week since the protest and now David Begg is aware that someone has been kicked and badly beaten. It’s not true,” he said.

A Labour Party spokesman today said Karen O’Connell, who is a special adviser to the Tánaiste, was kicked during the protest.

The spokesman said Ms O’Connell and the Tánaiste had made statements to gardaí following last weekend’s protest and said the matter was being investigated.

Mr Begg said the Government’s changes to the water charges scheme represented “a good settlement and should be accepted”.

Mr Begg said that during his involvement in the trade union movement over many years he had been exposed to a great deal of attack from the Trotskyite hard left “and I do not have a great deal of time for them”.

“Their view of the world is that they want a revolution and they see trade unions as social democratic reforming bodies who want to get social justice by gradually changing society and reforming capitalism.

“They see this as an impediment to revolution and want trade unions out of the way.”