Jailing of anti-water charge protesters an 'attack on right to protest' - Paul Murphy TD
Socialist TD Paul Murphy has called the jailing of five anti-water charge protesters an “attack on the right to protest”.
Mr Murphy also revealed he invited one of the jailed protesters, Derek Byrne, into Leinster House yesterday.
The Dublin South West TD previously condemned Mr Byrne for calling President Michael D Higgins a “midget parasite”.
Mr Byrne was jailed today along with four other protesters who broke a court injunction preventing them from demonstrating within 20 metres of water meter installers.
“I had a group of people from Tallaght, including a people from Tallaght Says No’ in the Dail yesterday and Derek Byrne was there. I have to be honest I didn’t know he would tag along as part of the group but he was there. He has a right to be here as a citizen,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Murphy said he condemns personal abuse by water protesters.
“Let’s be clear Derek Byrne or anyone else today was not jailed for assault, was not jailed for intimidation, was not jailed for abusive language,” he added.
“The reality of it is that it is a contempt of court but it’s an injunction granted to a private company out to make profit that is imposing water meters in areas that don’t want water meters.”
He said the Taoiseach’s claims that Anti Austerity Alliance were threatening water meter installers was “completely untrue”.
“I’m not aware of that at all, it has no basis in fact whatsoever and I think the Taoiseach should be challenged on that," he added.
Mr Murphy also said he expects a “massive response” at Saturday’s anti-political policing rally in Dublin.