Friday 24 January 2020

TD on €87,000 annual Dáil salary is granted legal aid for trial over water protest

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy
TD Paul Murphy is facing charges of falsely imprisoning Tánaiste Joan Burton during a protest almost 18 months ago. Photo: Collins Courts

Fiona Ferguson and Kevin Doyle

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy, who earns more than €87,000 a year, has been given legal aid in relation to his upcoming trial following a water protest.

Mr Murphy is facing charges of falsely imprisoning Tánaiste Joan Burton during a protest almost 18 months ago.

A trial date has not yet been fixed for Mr Murphy (32), with an address at The Copse, Woodpark, Ballinteer.

Yesterday, a solicitor acting for Mr Murphy said he was making an application for legal aid and handed in a statement of means.

He said the State were on notice and had no objection.

The State solicitor confirmed that there was no garda objection based on the figures in the documentation and said it was a matter for the court to decide.

Judge Melanie Greally said based on the average weekly income in the documentation she would assign legal aid.

The figures in the documentation were not disclosed in open court.

But the evidence of means supplied to the court is understood to have included details of his TDs pay and all outgoings before he takes his salary.

Mr Murphy earns an €87,258 annual salary which is funded by the taxpayer.

The Irish Independent understands that Mr Murphy donates a significant portion of his Dáil salary to campaigns such as the anti-water movement and to the Socialist Party and Anti-Austerity Alliance.

He then takes home €1,800 a month, after tax, in what is described as a "young worker's wage".

Asked afterwards if it was correct for a TD to get legal aid under these circumstances, Mr Murphy said: "The whole exercise has involved a huge number of gardaí investigating this for months, and a trial at Circuit Court level is going to be a huge cost to the State.

"But the responsibility for that lies with the State, not the defendant. A defendant has the right to put their case forward and to have a lawyer to defend them."

He has been sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on two charges of false imprisonment of Ms Burton and of Karen O'Connell at Fortunestown Road, Jobstown, on November 15, 2014.


Ms Burton and her entourage had left a graduation event at An Cosan Education Centre at Jobstown, Tallaght, when a demonstration was held which delayed her for about two hours on November 15, 2014.

She and her team had been attempting to travel by car to St Thomas' Church for the rest of the ceremony when it is alleged the incident occurred.

Mr Murphy's case will be before the court again on May 3 next for mention

The court has heard that the case could last four to six weeks.

Irish Independent

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