Solidarity TD seeks public inquiry into Jobstown ‘conspiracy’

Paul Murphy claims there was ‘political policing’ in false imprisonment trial

Paul Murphy TD has claimed that there was a conspiracy in the Jobstown trial to 'stitch up' the Solidarity TD and his water protest colleagues.

 

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has alleged “political policing” in the Jobstown trial and called on the Minister for Justice to initiate a public inquiry into the Garda investigation.

Mr Murphy claimed gardaí had given a “litany of false, inaccurate statements” in the trial.

He and five others had faced charges of the false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton and her then assistant Karen O’Connell, during a water charges protest on November 15th, 2014, on the Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin, but were found not guilty on Thursday.

“There needs to be a public inquiry to ask how… this conspiracy took place. Who was involved?” Mr Murphy asked during at a press conference in Dublin on Friday afternoon.

Mr Murphy said the protest against water charges was peaceful, spontaneous and “chaotic at times”, but the idea that any of his associates where chanting abuse was not accurate.

He said he found the focus on his tweets in some elements of the media “a bit bizarre”. He was warned by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) earlier this week about using his Twitter account to comment on the trial.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said the main thing that was chanted at Ms Burton was “traitor”, “shame on you” and political chants.

A small minority had made sexist comments. “I’m a victim of that on social medial and many women are,” she said. “I’m not saying it was all perfect and rosy.”

Ms Coppinger said Ms Burton had chosen to bring her political aide with her on the day when she did not have to.

One of the defendants Kieran Mahon said many hundreds of working class women were protesting that day in Jobstown. People were expressing anger, he said, and few swear words “were thrown in”. It may have been a little bit inconvenient or a little bit uncomfortable, he acknowledged.

The protesters were not inspired by hatred but by a sense of “betrayal” by the Labour Party, he said.

Mr Mahon said it seemed to be an “inconvenient truth” that six people had been found not guilty.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry said there was every possibility that a “strong and powerful left” could emerge and what had happened at Jobstown would play a very significant part in that.