Friday 30 September 2016

'Jobstown protest like a rugby maul' - Garda inspector

Tom Tuite

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

Joan Burton: shoe came off during aggressive protest. Photo: Tom Burke
Joan Burton: shoe came off during aggressive protest. Photo: Tom Burke

A garda inspector has told a trial it was like a "rugby maul" when he tried to escort the then-Tánaiste Joan Burton through an angry crowd at the Jobstown water protest.

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A 17-year-old boy denies falsely imprisoning Burton (67) and her political adviser Karen O'Connell during the water protest at the Fortunestown Road in Jobstown in Tallaght, Dublin, on November 15, 2014.

He was aged 15 at the time and cannot be named because he is still a minor.

The former Labour leader had been attending a graduation event at 11.30am at An Cosán adult education centre.

It is alleged trouble broke out and she and her entourage were trapped in cars surrounded by protesters for about three hours.

Prosecution barrister Tony McGillicuddy has said that the prosecution case is that the former Tánaiste and her adviser Ms O'Connell were detained by the actions of the teenage defendant in conjunction with the actions of others.

The non-jury trial resumed before Judge John King at the Dublin Children's Court yesterday.

Read more: Burton: I felt menaced and frightened at water protest

Det Inspector Derek Maguire told the court he was with Ms Burton as she forced her way from An Cosán to the nearby St Thomas's Church.

He said she was hit with a water balloon and she was called a traitor. As crowds started to gather, Ms Burton and her adviser got into an unmarked Garda drugs unit car.

"The protesters observed what was happening and ran to this car and surrounded the back of this car," he said.

He said they were shouting and shaking the car and trying to cover the windows with placards.

He said a lot of objects were being thrown and gardaí were struck with eggs.

"It was like a rugby maul," he told the court. He said that Ms Burton's shoe came off and there was "pure aggression".

It took seven to 10 minutes to walk the 30 yards to the Jeep where Ms Burton got into the back seat, he said.

He told the court the Jeep was then surrounded by protesters and its front windscreen was smashed by one of them.

It was day two of the trial which resumes today.

Irish Independent

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