Thursday 19 October 2017

Senior garda identifies Paul Murphy and four other accused on video footage of protesters surrounding Joan Burton's car

Defendants in the Jobstown trial (Males from left) Kieran Mahon, Michael Banks, Frank Donaghy, Paul Murphy TD, Scott Masterson and Michael Murphy arrive at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where they appeared on charges of the false imprisonment of then Tanaiste Joan Burton at a water protest in Jobstown in 2014. Photo: Collins Courts
Defendants in the Jobstown trial (Males from left) Kieran Mahon, Michael Banks, Frank Donaghy, Paul Murphy TD, Scott Masterson and Michael Murphy arrive at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where they appeared on charges of the false imprisonment of then Tanaiste Joan Burton at a water protest in Jobstown in 2014. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

A senior garda witness in the Jobstown trial has identified Paul Murphy TD and four of the other accused men on video footage of protesters surrounding a car in which then-Tanaiste Joan Burton was allegedly falsely imprisoned.

Detective Inspector Derek Maguire identified to the jury five of the seven accused men as the CCTV footage was played in court this afternoon.

They were Paul Murphy (34), Councillor Michael Murphy (53), Scott Masterson (34), Frank Donaghy (71) and Michael Banks (56).

Det Insp Maguire was giving evidence for the prosecution in the trial of seven men, who all deny falsely imprisoning Ms Burton and her advisor Karen O’Connell in two cars during a water charge protest.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the incident happened at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght on November 15, 2014 after an adult education graduation ceremony.

In footage of the scene at the first unmarked garda car, the crowd were at one stage sitting down, then they were seen to “get up off the ground and come around the side of the car.”

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

One unidentified man was seen with his top off, holding it in his hand and hitting the car with it.

Det Insp Maguire identified a “grey haired lady in academic robes holding up a phone” as Children’s Minister Catherine Zappone, who had attended the ceremony.

Sean Gillane SC, for the prosecution, asked Det Insp Maguire if several men seen in the video were Paul Murphy, Mick Murphy, Scott Masterson, Frank Donaghy and Michael Banks.

Det Insp Maguire said they were.

Earlier, Det Insp Maguire said he called for backup to the protest because he was “concerned for the safety” of Burton as she attended the conferring ceremony in the church.

Video showed the procession of graduates emerging from An Cosain, turning left onto the Fortunestown Road and walking toward the gates of the church.

Initially, people were heard chanting “out, out out” and “traitor, traitor, traitor,” then applause began as the graduates walked out.

As the procession travelled down the road, a group of men and women and some children were seen to walk alongside Joan Burton and others.

Many were carrying placards, booing and shouting “shame on you.”

Insp Maguire identified himself in the video to the jury.

Padraig Dwyer SC, representing Frank Donaghy, then addressed the jury saying he was making an “admission of fact” that Mr Donaghy was visible in this earlier footage.

He added that it was not alleged that Ms Burton or Ms O’Connell were falsely imprisoned at this point - that was alleged to have happened elsewhere.

The clip continued, with protesters heard shouting “Bitch - answer the question.”

CCTV footage of the outside of the church was played and Det Insp Maguire explained that the conferring ceremony was taking place inside.

At this point, he said, he made contact with Tallaght Garda Station.

“I was concerned for the safety of the Tanaiste and the people there in the ceremony and members of An Garda Siochana,” he told the jury. “So I needed to get extra resources there, I needed to get more garda members to the scene.”

Several people carrying placards were seen moving around the side of the building. An unmarked garda Toyota Avensis was seen arriving from Tallaght Station.

At 1.46pm on the video, Det Insp Maguire said the side door of the church was opened and four people were seen going to the car - two gardai, Ms Burton and Ms O’Connell.

“A large crowd of people surround the back of the car, holding placards and banging on the car,” he said. “More and more people are coming to the back of the car.”

Det Insp Maguire said gardai were then seen providing a “human cordon” around the car.

He remained in the witness box for the afternoon as more footage was played, mostly without comment, to the jury.

Ms Burton and Ms O’Connor were seen being removed from the unmarked garda car and brought to another, marked car which was out of shot.

The accused men are Paul Murphy TD, councillors Michael Murphy (53) and  Kieran Mahon (39), Frank Donaghy (71) of Alpine Rise, Tallaght, Ken Purcell (50) of Kiltalown Green, Michael Banks (46) of Brookview Green and Scott Masterson (34) of Carrigmore Drive, all in Tallaght.

The trial continues before a jury and Judge Melanie Greally.

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