Sunday 23 October 2016

'If you asked me last year if I'd be up in court, I would have laughed' - Paul Murphy TD on Jobstown protest charges

Published 15/09/2015 | 13:37

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy

Paul Murphy TD said he would have 'laughed' if he was told last year he would be up in court following the Jobstown protests.

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The TD commented after he received a summons this morning to appear before court in November, accused of falsely imprisoning Tanaiste Joan Burton and her assistant.

Speaking to RTE Radio One, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Murphy agreed it did not come as a surprise following media reports and his arrest but he described the situation as 'shocking'.

"Yeah it's not a surprise given that yesterday other people got their summonses. Almost of the 27 now would have them," he said.

"But in an overall sense, I mean it's shocking. If you asked me back in November, would I be up in court for false imprisonment for a protest that I had participated in, I would have laughed.

"I mean the reaction I got from most people since people were arrested last February, or from the more recent leaks, most people will say to me 'ah they won't be that ridiculous, they won't be that silly, there's no way you'd face criminal trials'.

"There is a system and we're going to go and try to convince a jury that the notion of sitting down behind a car and slow marching is false imprisonment is absolutely ludicrous and we think we should be able to do that," he continued.

"But this amounts in my opinion to a very serious matter for everybody in this country about the right to protest and basic democratic rights."

Labour Party leader Joan Burton was attending a graduation ceremony in the area with her adviser Karen O'Connell and when they attempted to leave, their car was surrounded by anti-water chargers protesters on November 14 last year.

It was reported last week that 27 people - men, women and juveniles - will face charges over the incident and that 13 would be charged with the false imprisonment of the two women, including sitting TD Paul Murphy.

Paul Murphy launched 'The Accused' in Jobstown today - and said this matter is now more important than water charges and it's about people's right to protest.

"If you look at this politically, can you believe your luck?" Sean O'Rourke asked this morning, to which Mr Murphy replied: "I don't think I have any luck here".

When asked if he had the potential to be turned into a martyr if the situation takes a certain course, My Murphy said: "I've no interest in being a martyr."

Two south Dublin Anti Austerity Alliance councillors, Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy, also confirmed they received the summons from two gardaí who delivered the documents to their homes.

Councillors Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy said they are facing two charges of false imprisonment involving Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell. And they confirmed that they are due to appear in the Criminal Courts of Justice on November 2.

"We will fight it legally and politically and certainly won't let it put us off doing what we do," Cllr Murphy said.

Cllr Mahon said his summons was delivered to his home by two members of the gardaí shortly before 11pm and said the group was "kind of prepared for this".

"We know other people in the area had been receiving them so we knew that it was coming," he added.

Mr Murphy said they now plan to launch a group called 'Jobstown Not Guilty', which will be "a broad campaign for everybody who is being charged to fight a political campaign against the charges".

He also said they will announce details later this morning of plans for a 'major protest on Saturday'.

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