Wednesday 22 November 2017

TD 'should have walked away' from water protest, court told

Paul Murphy outside court
Paul Murphy outside court

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and Councillor Michael Murphy are "intelligent men" who "should have walked away" from the Jobstown anti-water charges protest, a garda said.

On Day 21 of the trial of Mr Murphy, Cllr Murphy and five other men, the jury was shown footage where a vote was taken among protesters on whether to "keep" former Tanaiste Joan Burton, or march the garda car carrying the minister out of the area.

The seven men deny falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her aide Karen O'Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, on November 15, 2014.


The two women were allegedly trapped in the car outside a church and later hemmed in by protestors for up to three hours as they sat in a garda Jeep. They had been attending a graduation ceremony.

Yesterday in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Detective Garda Richard Hansen was shown video of Paul Murphy asking the crowd to vote on whether to keep Ms Burton or march her out of the area.

Michael Murphy told the crowd there was "potential for argy-bargy and that's not what we really came here for".

Another man in the crowd responded, "That's what we came here for", Seoirse O'Dunlaing, representing Michael Murphy, told the court.

The two men voted to escort Ms Burton's car down Fortunestown Road, but the majority wanted to hold her back.

Det Gda Hansen said he thought the footage "clearly demonstrates that both Paul Murphy and Michael Murphy were in control of the crowd". He said the men had the loud-hailer and were "putting options to the crowd".

"This had become more than a protest. It was a violent situation. It was nearly a riot in my opinion," he said.

"They're both intelligent men. They had the option to walk away. They should have just walked away at that point. People were being assaulted.

"Guards were being assaulted. We had two women trapped in the car."

Mr O'Dunlaing put it to the detective that he made no mention of Michael Murphy in his notebook.

He also suggested to the officer that he studied the CCTV while making his statement and that, whenever Cllr Murphy's name cropped up in his evidence, it was "predated with you viewing footage".

Det Gda Hansen said he referred to the video "to ensure I was identifying the correct person".

The trial continues before Judge Greally and the jury.

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