Sunday 17 December 2017

Paul Murphy TD 'didn't think Government would be stupid enough to arrest him' - partner

Conor Feehan and Denise Calnan

Paul Murphy TD has been released from garda custody, following his arrest this morning.

On his release from Terenure garda station, he slammed 'purely political policing'.

Mr Murphy and his partner were 'prepared' for an arrest, but didn't think the Government would be that 'incredibly stupid' to follow up on accusations from a protest against Joan Burton last year.

Farrah Mokhtareizadh also said she believes this morning's arrest is part of a wider political movement against the water protesters.

She said the TD was aware arrests could be made after the 'government made statements about following up on the incident', which saw Tanaiste Joan Burton trapped in her car for more than two hours.

She had been attempting to leave a graduation event at An Cosan, a higher education college, when she was trapped by protesters on Saturday, November.

Socialist TD Paul Murphy is one of four people who were arrested in connection with the Jobstown protest. Two people were released without charge earlier this afternoon and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

Mr Murphy was released shortly after 3.40pm this afternoon.

Farrah described how they opened the door to six gardai before 7am this morning.

"It was before seven this morning when we got the knock on the door, six officers were standing there," she told Newstalk's Pat Kenny show.

Paul Murphy TD
Paul Murphy TD

"They said Paul had to go with them straightaway, he was in his pyjamas and he asked could he change his clothes and they allowed for that.

"Paul was certainly prepared.

"There were statements from the government about following up on the protests so we had to be prepared, but we certainly didn't expect it. Paul has not done anything wrong, so we thought it would be incredibly stupid of the government to come and arrest him.

"We were prepared for it, but we didn't think it would happen," she added.

Farrah said she believes the four arrests made this morning across south Dublin are a 'political move against the water protesters'.

"We don't feel Paul has done something wrong," she continued.

"He was part of a much larger movement called for from the people of Jobstown. This definitely seems like a political move against the water protesters.

"I mean this is a complete spin of the government. Water is just one of a myriad of charges. I think this is an incalculable bad move from the government when people re galvanising against austerity across Europe."

Farrah also said that she doesn't think Joan Burton was targeted personally, but rather for what she represents.

"I don't think this is about Joan Burton the person," Farrah said.

"This is about a larger political struggle against the austerity policies she is implementing. I can't answer how we feel about Joan Burton personally, I've never met her myself.

"I mean, to be honest, the unpleasant experience is something that is not being acknowledged in the media is the economic violence against people as a result of these austerity changes."

Dave Murphy, spokesman for the Socialist Party, said two Anti-Austerity Alliance councillors on South Dublin County Council were also among the four arrested.

Paul Murphy was arrested at his home in Ballinteer, councillor Kieran Mahon was arrested at his home in Tallaght, while Mick Murphy was arrested while making his way to work from his home in Whitechurch, Rathfarnham, he said.

Anti Austerity Alliance Councillor for Tallaght Central Mick ​Murphy was one of the four arrested this morning in connection with the Jobstown protest.

Gardaí are investigating a number of alleged offences, including false imprisonment and public order offences.

Mr Murphy was released without charge earlier this afternoon.

He told RTE's Liveline show that "nothing I was shown today [during questioning] that was particularly surprising".

"I can't see how they make a case in front of a judge for that."

Mr Murphy told presenter Joe Duffy that he was shown video surveillance from garda jeeps and garda helicopter of the protest that day.

"The footage that was shown was of good quality and was accurate. I have no problem to explain this in court if it comes to that."

He questioned the amount of garda resources made available to investigate the incident.

"We've been told that there's six inspectors investigating this [Jobstown incident] full time," he said.

Mr Murphy said that a motion was put to the crowd asking 'when should we let her go', in reference to the Tanaiste in her car.

"There was a discussion about how slowly the protest should move, about what time we should let the minister go, things were consciously done at a certain point.”

Cllr Murphy was adamant that Joan Burton “was never in any danger” at any stage during the protest. 

Callers to the Liveline show said that they supported the concept of a peaceful protest but were unhappy with the 'unruly, hooligan-like behaviour' on the day that the Tanaiste was seemingly trapped in her car for several hours.

"This has descended into thuggery. We can't block people into their cars," said one male caller. 

"I see Paul Murphy as a self serving publicist. I did not go out and exercise my right to vote so he could go out and break the law in my name."

Socialist TD Joe Higgins called the arrests “completely over the top” and “political policing”.

“[Paul Murphy] was taken from his home at 7 o clock in the morning. It was a completely over the top action... As far as I’m aware,  he has not been spoken to in any official form since the Jobstown protests.

“It’s political policing in my view. It is an attempt to denigrate and damage the anti-water movement.”

Mr Higgins told RTE Radio 1 that the anti-water charges movement promotes “peaceful and disciplined protest”

“The government is the one responsible for the anger after six years of austerity, on the backs of working people, the poor and unempoyed pensioners.

People are fed up that will be reflected in the mass boycott of the water charges in April,” he said

Socialist party TD Ruth Coppinger has said people see the arrest of her party colleague Paul Murphy as ‘political policing’.

“First to say I think it’s disgraceful garda resources have been used in this way. Six gardai came to Paul Murphy’s home, apparently six gardai were necessary.

“Three of the four people arrested were leading members of the Anti Austerity Alliance, dragged out in front of their families at 7am this morning”, she told Sean O’Rourke on Radio One.

She defended the sit down protest during which Joan Burton was trapped in her car for several hours.

“The sit down protest has been a form of protest for decades. I don’t know how anybody could see it as a crime.

“Joan Burton has actually broken practically every election promise she’s made. She’s savaged families, she’s introduced water charges. It always amazes me how most of the media in this country never go into communities and find out why this anger is there.”

She said that people view the arrests as 'political policing'.

“What we’ve seen today is a huge mobilisation of garda resources to arrest three elected representatives. People see this as political policing.

“If it’s the gardai acting on their own behalf that’s one thing, but these are questions going on among people today. There have not yet been any charges, and most likely there will be none. What they did was sit and stand with their communities and represented them."

Meanwhile, speaking to Newstalk's Pat Kenny show, United Left TD Joan Collins said she was 'very surprised' to receive the news of Mr Murphy's arrest this morning.

"I think this government made a dramatic change in relation to the water legislation," she said.

"They try to go softly, softly in one area but you can't do that and then go down hard in relation to protest. This is the establishment saying they are going to come in and come in hard, people won't put up with that."

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett described the arrests as 'disproportionate' and 'pretty extraordinary'.

"It seems pretty extraordinary for six gardai to arrive at your house at 7am in the morning," TD Boyd Barrett told the same radio show.

"The government were completely rocked by these protests and they were running scared politically, and it is certainly in their interests to try and tarnish the people involved.

"There is a political motive involved," he continued.

"Where exactly this political motive emanates, I don't know - I find it extraordinary they wouldn't just ring Paul Murphy up and ask him to come in and answer a few questions."

Mr Boyd Barrett said he is 'not sure' if the arrest will be of advantage to Mr Murphy.

"I'm not sure [if this will be of an advantage to Mr Murphy]," he said.

"I hope people look at this and say this is completely out of the over the top.

"I am also fairly certain part of this is to deter people from going to the peaceful protests."

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