Tuesday 20 March 2018

'I was worried I would be locked up for years' - Jobstown grandad Frank

Frank Donaghy Photo: Collins Courts
Frank Donaghy Photo: Collins Courts

Ryan Nugent

A pensioner found not guilty in the Jobstown trial has told of the moment he was awoken by six gardaí and arrested just after 6am.

Frank Donaghy (71) says the criminal trial - which could have led to 14 years of imprisonment - was seriously stressful on him and his family.

Mr Donaghy, from Alpine Rise in Tallaght, said he stumbled on the anti-water protest only as he was getting petrol for his car at a filling station.

He said the idea of appearing in court had been totally new to him.

"It's very stressful every morning, waking up thinking that one day you could end up in Mountjoy, there's been a lot of stress. It's been tough on everyone, it's not an easy thing to deal with," Mr Donaghy said.

"I was worried I was going to be locked up for a few years.

"I'm a retired building worker, this was the first time I'd ever been to court, so it was a bit of a shock.

"It went on for a few months and then I was arrested here one morning, it was just after 6am. I didn't think I'd been a danger to anyone.

"They could have rang me, they had every way of contacting me but they didn't choose to do that, they wanted to make it look dramatic."

When told by gardaí he was facing a maximum sentence, Mr Donaghy had replied: "That wouldn't be long for me."

Mr Donaghy, along with Michael Banks of Brookview Green, Tallaght, Ken Purcell from Kiltalown Green, Tallaght, and Scoot Masterson, from Carrigmore Drive, Tallaght, were all found not guilty following the trial verdict on Thursday.

TD Paul Murphy, along with local councillors Michael Murphy and Kieran Mahon, from Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden and Bolbrook Grove, Tallaght respectively, were also cleared of the charges.

Each person had denied falsely imprisoning Labour TD, Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell during the protest in 2014.

The jury had deliberated for just over three hours on the case.

Irish Independent

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