Charges to be brought over Jobstown protest

Charges to be brought over Jobstown protest

By William O'Connor

Paul Murphy TD resizedDUBLIN South West TD Paul Murphy has today branded the decision to charge 20 people over an anti-water protest in Jobstown as an attack on the right to protest.

The Anti Austerity Alliance TD, speaking on Newstalk this morning, said he knew nothing of the charges, and had to rely on news bulletins and journalists for information once the story broke on Wednesday night.

He said, "The first I heard of it yesterday was when a radio station rang me shortly after the nine o'clock news went on. As far as I understand, nobody else knew anything about this coming."

Those charged are expected to appear in court in the coming weeks in connection with the anti-water protest in Jobstown last year in which Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for over two and a half hours.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed they be charged with a number of offences including false imprisonment, violent disorder, criminal damage and offences under public order legislation.

The ramifications for Mr Murphy, if he is charged, could see him lose his Dail seat, with the AAA TD telling Newstalk, “If I was imprisoned for six months or more, my understanding is that I would automatically lose the Dáil seat”.

Continuing, the politician said: “From journalists, who again know more than I do, they inform me, that their information is, I’m likely to be charged with false imprisonment”.

Gardaí started an investigation after Minister Burton was trapped in her car, which was surrounded by water protesters after she left a graduation ceremony at education centre An Cosán in Jobstown in November 2014.

Around 40 people were subsequently arrested, including three public representatives and a number of teenagers after the incident.

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