Tuesday 17 October 2017

Burton in 'great danger' at water protest - Zappone

Former Tánaiste Joan Burton Photo: Collins Courts
Former Tánaiste Joan Burton Photo: Collins Courts

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Government Minister Katherine Zappone has told the trial of seven men charged with falsely imprisoning former tánaiste Joan Burton that she felt Ms Burton and her adviser were in "great danger" during a water charges protest in Jobstown.

Ms Zappone agreed with Sean Gilanne SC, prosecuting, that she was "very frightened" for Ms Burton during the demonstration in November 2014.

The court heard that she told gardaí: "I felt something could happen. The dynamic was that they [the protesters] were not letting her go."

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy (34) and South Dublin Councillors Michael Murphy (53) and Kieran Mahon (39) and four other men have pleaded not guilty to falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her special adviser Karen O'Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, on November 15, 2014.

Read More: Children's Minister Zappone felt Joan Burton and adviser were in 'great danger' during protest, court hears

Mr Murphy, of Kingswood Heights, Tallaght; Kieran Mahon, of Holbrook Grove, Tallaght; Michael Murphy, of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin; Frank Donaghy (71), of Alpine Rise, Tallaght; Ken Purcell (50), of Kiltalown Green, Tallaght; Michael Banks (46), of Brookview Green, Tallaght; and Scott Masterson (34), of Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght, have denied the charges.

Ms Zappone said she was attending the graduation ceremony at An Cosán women's education centre, of which she was a founding member.

She said that during the walk from An Cosán to the nearby Catholic church, protesters crossed the road and "closed in on us, particularly on Joan".

Ms Zappone said that when she noticed Ms Burton leaving the church she followed her outside.

"She was in the car, there was lots surrounding it, banging on the car and chanting, moving the car back and forth. I felt deeply concerned, I was scared for her," she told the court.

The minister said she saw one of the accused, Paul Murphy, during the time that Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell were detained in the unmarked car.

During cross-examination by Sean Guerin, who is representing Paul Murphy, Ms Zappone agreed that in principle she did not agree with water charges and regarded it as a regressive model.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally.

Irish Independent

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