Wednesday 26 July 2017

Joan Burton told she could have 'sanctuary in the church' by one of Jobstown defendants during protest, trial told

From the left: Paul Murphy, Michael Murphy, Scott Masterson, Frank Donaghy and Kieran Mahon arrive at court. Photo: Collins
From the left: Paul Murphy, Michael Murphy, Scott Masterson, Frank Donaghy and Kieran Mahon arrive at court. Photo: Collins

Declan Brennan

A garda inspector has told the trial of seven men accused of falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton during a water charges protest in November 2014 that one of the defendants said she could have “sanctuary” in a nearby church.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy (34) along with 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 advisor Karen O'Connell by restricting their personal liberty without their consent at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght on November 15, 2014.

The two women were attending a graduation ceremony at An Cosán adult education centre in Jobstown when anti-water charges protestors began demonstrating around them.

Inspector Derek Maguire is continuing to guide the jury through footage taken on the day on camera phones and CCTV.

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

The jury saw footage of the women leaving a local church where the ceremony took place and getting into an unmarked garda car.

Inspector Maguire identified the defendants, Paul Murphy, Michael Banks (46) and Scott Masterson (34) as being around the car in which Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell sat for up to an hour.

He also identified Michael Murphy as the man on the video footage saying: “She can have sanctuary in the church if she wants it”.

An unidentified male voice can be heard on the video telling a garda: “smile for Facebook”, “people power”, “yiz brought it on yourselves, fighting the communities, this is our community” and “shame on f**kin' you”.

Garda insp Derek Maguire pictured leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Garda insp Derek Maguire pictured leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Read More: Senior garda called for backup at Jobstown protest because he was 'concerned for the safety' of Joan Burton

Another unidentified voice can be heard saying: “We have a right to refuse, we have a right to protest”.

Insp Maguire noted the footage shows a couple of things being thrown at the car and identifies himself in the act of asking the crowd to move back.

The jury also saw footage taken by a CCTV camera from inside the garda Jeep, to which the two women were later moved.

Insp Maguire told the court that people then sat down in front of the Jeep. He also identified what he said appeared to be a stick landing on the Jeep.

The trial continues before Judge Melanie Greally and a jury.

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