Joe Higgins: Inquiry into Garda handling of Jobstown case needed

Bulk of media was partisan and hostile, while some Garda evidence was surreal

Ken Purcell, Scott Masterson, Paul Murphy, Michael Murphy, Ciarán Mahon, Frank Donaghy and Michael Banks following their acquittal in the  Jobstown protest trial. Photograph: PA

Ken Purcell, Scott Masterson, Paul Murphy, Michael Murphy, Ciarán Mahon, Frank Donaghy and Michael Banks following their acquittal in the Jobstown protest trial. Photograph: PA

The day after the verdicts in the Jobstown protest trial The Irish Times fulminated over the use of social media to support the defendants. The front page headlined not the jury’s landmark not-guilty verdicts but the fact that my colleague Paul Murphy TD had retweeted comments by supporters during the trial.

“Campaigners produced partisan running commentary on the trial,” claimed the editorial. No mention that the bulk of the mass media was highly partisan and hostile to the protesters from the very first day, when the protest happened, November 15th, 2014. The Irish Times itself on November 22nd headlined an article: “Burton associate ‘kicked and beaten’ in Jobstown protest”. It quoted Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg: “I happened to know one of the people who was in the tánaiste’s car . . . a young woman and she was very badly kicked and beaten by some of these people.” It never happened.

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