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Saturday 16 December 2017

'Let them charge us' says defiant TD Paul Murphy arrested over Joan Burton protest

09/02/15 Joe Higgins and Paul Murphy TD pictured leaving Terenure Garda Station this evening after he was arrested early this morning and questioned about a protest in which Tainaiste Joan Burton was blocaded in her car...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
09/02/15 Joe Higgins and Paul Murphy TD pictured leaving Terenure Garda Station this evening after he was arrested early this morning and questioned about a protest in which Tainaiste Joan Burton was blocaded in her car...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
09/02/15 Paul Murphy TD pictured leaving Terenure Garda Station this evening after he was arrested early this morning and questioned about a protest in which Tainaiste Joan Burton was blocaded in her car...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

SOCIALIST TD Paul Murphy has responded to his arrest over a water protest saying “let them charge us. Let’s have a court case ... because we’re not guilty”.

SOCIALIST TD Paul Murphy has responded to his arrest over a water protest saying “let them charge us. Let’s have a court case ... because we’re not guilty”.

Mr Murphy was speaking after his release from garda custody yesterday afternoon.

He was one of four men arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment of Tanaiste Joan Burton during an anti-water charges protest last November.

Dublin South-West TD Mr Murphy claimed his arrest was “an exercise in pure political policing, designed to damage the anti-water charges movement.

“There is no basis for these charges, so let them charge us. Let’s have a court case, let’s have a jury, because we’re not guilty,” he said.

Read More: Gardai are expecting to make up to 25 further arrests

The four men were questioned yesterday in connection with the incident on November 15 when a car carrying Ms Burton was blocked by protesters for more than two hours as she attempted to leave a graduation event in a college in Jobstown, Co Dublin.

Ms Burton was also hit by a water balloon during the protest.

The three other men, Anti-Austerity Alliance councillors Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy and Scott Masterson, a spokesman for Tallaght Eirigi Republican Group who also arrested and questioned over the same protest were released without charge at lunchtime.

Files on all four men are being prepared for the DPP.

Read More: Councillors locked in by angry Fingal demo

Tanaiste Joan Burton’s spokesman confirmed she had been interviewed by gardai in relation to the incident but offered no comment on Mr Murphy’s arrest saying it would be inappropriate to do so.

Speaking outside Terenure Garda Station after his release Mr Murphy described the investigation into the protest as “an incredible waste of garda resources”. “We’re not guilty in any sense, it’s complete nonsense, the idea we’re guilty of false imprisonment of anybody. It’s disgusting,” he said.

He said that there had been “no attempt” by the gardai to contact him for questioning or a statement before his arrest yesterday morning, although he added that the police had been “polite” and “helpful” during his time in custody.

The Socialist Party TD said that his arrest had been “a major mistake and I think the Government will regret this”, describing it as “a clearly trumped-up charge”.

Joe Higgins said that the three-month investigation into the protest in Jobstown was “unprecedented in the history of policing”.

Mr Murphy was arrested at 7am yesterday when six gardai called to his home. “They wanted to create an incident,” he claimed. “It was a shocking thing to happen to anybody”.

His partner Farah Mokhtareizadeh spoke of how he had been wearing his pyjamas when gardai arrived at the door and that he had to change into his clothes before being brought to the Garda station.

Read More: Paul Murphy TD released from garda custody

“Paul has not done anything wrong, so we thought it would be incredibly stupid of the government to come and arrest him,” she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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