Thursday 25 May 2017

TD Paul Murphy: I will vigorously contest protest charges

TDs Joan Collins and Paul Murphy address supporters
TDs Joan Collins and Paul Murphy address supporters
A protester outside the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday as TD Paul Murphy and 15 others appeared inside

Sam Griffin and Andrew Phelan

Ant-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has pledged to vigorously defend himself after his court appearance yesterday.

The Director of Public Prosecutions directed that Mr Murphy be tried in front of a judge and jury on charges of falsely imprisoning Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser at a protest in Jobstown, Dublin, last November.

A crowd of around 300 congregated outside the Criminal Courts of Justice yesterday as the TD and 15 others appeared before Judge Michael Walsh.

Another two people were not present and had their cases adjourned in their absence.

Protesters chanted and blocked two vans, one of which they claimed provided contract work for Irish Water, for more than three hours.

After the hearing, the accused protesters exited the court building en masse to applause from their supporters.

TDs Paul Murphy and Joan Collins, who was appearing in relation to a different case concerning water meter installations, told the crowd they will fight the charges.

"We will have a vigorous defence over the course of the next year but also politically, mobilisation to say 'We will not be intimidated'," Mr Murphy said. "We will not back down from urging mass disobedience, mass non payment to defeat the water charges and mass protests."

Also charged with two counts of false imprisonment are South Dublin County Councillors Michael Murphy (51) of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, and Ciaran Mahon (37) of Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght.

Separately, anti-water charges protester Derek Byrne (37) has been accused of using threatening and abusive language towards President Michael D Higgins.

Mr Byrne allegedly heckled Mr Higgins during a demonstration outside a Finglas school last January 23.

Mr Byrne, of Streamville Road, Kilbarrack, is accused of using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour to cause a breach of the peace.

Two co-accused are also facing the same charge arising from that protest; Diarmuid Dubhghlais (51) of Pairc Ui Mhaoiliosa, Fionn Ghlais Thiar, and Anna Clarke (35) of St Donagh's Road, Donaghmede.

Defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins told Dublin District Court the cases were unrelated to the other proceedings. He said this case involved the issue of "whether you can actually summons the President to give evidence."

Irish Independent

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