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Murphy's mob have damaged the water charges campaign

Paul Murphy needs someone to buy him a dictionary for Christmas.

The new TD for Dublin South West (below) is insulting our intelligence by insisting that the intimidation of Joan Burton in Jobstown was "a peaceful protest".

Anyone with eyes in their head can see that the reality was very different, which is why the anti-water charge campaign has just scored its first major own-goal.

The scenes from west Tallaght on Saturday afternoon were nothing short of disgraceful. Ms Burton was trapped in her car for almost three hours as a vicious mob banged on the windows and screamed abuse at her.

While the Tanaiste feared that her vehicle might be overturned, Murphy stood nearby chanting through a loudhailer and made no attempt to call off his troops.

Ms Burton is a tough cookie, but even she was clearly shaken by this sinister experience. Other people hit the Labour leader with a water balloon, spat in her direction, threw eggs and, subsequently, a brick was thrown at gardai.


Murphy has blamed those incidents on local "young fellas" who exploited the situation, ignoring the fact that his goons created the situation in the first place.

All this suggests that Paul might also need to look up the word "democracy" in his new dictionary. Like her or not, Joan Burton is our deputy prime minister and has a right to go about her business in peace.

The Tanaiste was not in Jobs-town to install water meters - she went to honour graduates from the higher education college An Cosan, whose big day ended up ruined.

Until now, the Right2Water campaign has been sitting pretty on the moral high ground. Saturday's ugly little episode might just be a turning point.

Most of the 150,000 people who marched against Irish Water on November 1 are law-abiding citizens who must be looking at the images from Tallaght and wondering what monster they have unleashed.

If Murphy had the cop-on to apologise for allowing his demonstration to get out of hand, he might be able to limit the damage. Sadly, it seems that the middle-class Marxist doesn't do "sorry".

As a result, the next nationwide protest on December 10 may well show a big fall-off in numbers, which would allow the Government to claim that the tide is flowing in its direction.

Before then, Enda Kenny will play his last card. On Wednesday the Coalition is due to unveil a new water charge regime that means nobody should have to pay more than €200.

It could be the last chance to quell the sense of anarchy swirling around Irish politics these days.

The Taoiseach has been receiving abusive phone messages, Mary Lou McDonald staged a childish Dail sit-in last week to distract attention from Sinn Fein's sex abuse scandal and TDs such as Paul Murphy are trying to win their battles on the street as well as through the ballot box.

At one point during the hounding of Ms Bruton, Murphy was heard to ask his supporters, "Do we agree to let her go?"

If he carries on abusing his position, the voters of Dublin South West should let him go at the earliest opportunity.