Monday 18 December 2017

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

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

Andrew Phelan

A senior garda said he called for backup to the Jobstown water charge protest because he was "concerned for the safety" of then-Tanaiste Joan Burton as she attended a graduation ceremony in a church.

Detective Inspector Derek Maguire said he realised he “needed extra resources” after the Tanaiste had been confronted by protesters as she made her way to the ceremony.

He was giving evidence while video footage of the protest was played to the jury as the prosecution’s case against Paul Murphy TD and six other men continued today.

The seven allegedly falsely imprisoned Ms Burton and her advisor Karen O’Connell in cars they were taken to after the events in the footage.

Mr Murphy (34), south Dublin councillors Michael Murphy (53) and Kieran Mahon (39) and the four other men all deny the charges.

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

Several video clips were played back to the jury, with De Insp Maguire commenting on what was happening.

The footage in the first 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 Derek Maguire identified himself in the video to the jury.

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

The other four accused are 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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