Monday 22 July 2019

Labour Minister says water protest charges 'not an attack on right to protest'

Jan O'Sullivan
Jan O'Sullivan

Sam Griffin

LABOUR minister Jan O'Sullivan has said the decision to charge Paul Murphy and over 20 other Irish Water protesters is "not an attack on the the right to protest".

She also criticised the Dublin South West TD for speaking out and said his comments were not helpful.

The Minister was responding to comments by the Anti Austerity Alliance TD who said the move by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to charge him, and 22 others for false imprisonment and other charges after they prevented Tanaiste John Burton from getting out of her car for two hours at a water protest earlier this year, was an attack on civil liberties.

Asked if she agreed with Mr Murphy, she replied: "I don't".

"But I can't comment on the individual if it's going to come to court. Obviously that seems quite likely so I can't comment on it individually but I certainly do not agree that it's an attack on the right to protest," she said.

Asked if she thought the comments by the Dublin South West TD were helpful she said they were not.

"I don't (think the comments are helpful)," she said.

"Paul Murphy is a politician and he's obviously going to make political statements but I'm very concious that there is a court case coming up and I want to be sensitive in not anyway influencing that,"Minister O'Sullivan said.

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