Paul Murphy summonsed for Burton ‘false imprisonment’
TD calls on people to demand charges are dropped and to protect the right to march
TD Paul Murphy (second from left) with other anti-water charge campaigners during a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: The Irish Times
A number of protesters who took part in an anti-water charge protest last year, including TD Paul Murphy, have been summonsed to appear before a court in November.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance TD is one of 27 who have been summonsed to appear before the District Court on October 29th and November 2nd.
Of the 27 summonses sent to suspects, 14 relate to the alleged false imprisonment, while other suspects are to be charged with violent disorder and criminal damage.
The protesters summonsed to appear in court include two teenagers charged with violent disorder and criminal damage.
Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy of the Anti-Austerity Alliance also received a summons from gardaí on Monday night for their involvement in the protest at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, west Dublin last year.
Mr Murphy is charged with the false imprisonment of Tánaiste Joan Burton and her assistant Karen O’Connell.
Speaking at a press conference in Tallaght on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Murphy announced the launch of the #JobstownNotGuilty campaign saying a protest would be held on Saturday in Dublin.
“We’re now appealing to those people who felt that this was ludicrous, who felt that it would never happen, to mobilise in support of the whole community,” he said.
“It’s extremely serious for anybody who’s a trade unionist, who’s a political activist, for anybody who’s in favour of democratic rights, who’s in favour of the right to protest, now is the time to mobilise, to demand that the charges are dropped and that the right to protest is not criminalised.”
Mr Murphy also called on people who thought protesters had gone “a step too far” in Jobstown last year to join in Saturday’s protest on Dame Street.
“This is about bringing together everybody who is facing potential charges regardless of political background, personality, place in the community, a united campaign of everybody.”
“Twenty-seven people are facing serious criminal charges, [and] could be in prison for relatively long periods of time because they engaged in a protest.”
Mr Murphy denies anybody was falsely imprisoned and said the incident was a protest rather than any form of criminal conduct.
He has said the investigations and anticipated prosecutions arise from political policing.
In recent days, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams described the charges brought against 27 protesters following the Jobstown anti-water charge protest as “disproportionate and over the top”.
Mr Adams said he was “very very concerned at the way the State has responded to this political opposition to the Government’s policies”.
Mr Adams said it was the party’s view the protest had “got out of hand, that it was stupid” but said “the charging of so many people on such serious offences is disproportionate [and] will do little to sustain public confidence when compared to what’s happening with those engaged in white collar crime”.
Meanwhile, the number of homes paying their water charges has passed the 50 per cent mark, as Irish Water nears the end of its second billing cycle.
Initial results released earlier this summer for the first bills sent by the company showed that 43 per cent of homes had paid their water charges.
The first billing cycle covered usage for January, February and March and 675,000 households, out of a total of 1.52 million, paid. The second billing cycle applied for usage over April, May and June, with these bills sent from July.
Irish Water has yet to send out all bills for this period.