Saturday 24 March 2018

Paul Murphy comes under attack in the Dáil for applying for free legal aid

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy Photo: Collins Courts
Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy Photo: Collins Courts
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Anti-Austerity Alliance Paul Murphy has come under attack in the Dáil for applying for free legal aid for his forthcoming court case.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs criticised Mr Murphy’s decision to seek State support in his defence of criminal charges relating to a protest which saw Labour Party leader Joan Burton trapped in her car for two hours.

Fine Gael Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan said it was an “absolute outrage” that Mr Murphy would apply for legal aid given that he is paid a €87,258 salary.

Mr O’Donovan said people were “absolutely livid” that a TD would qualify for legal aid.

Fianna Fáil’s Roscommon South Leitrim TD Eugene Murphy said the Anti-Austerity Alliance TD’s decision had “gone down very badly with the public”.

“I ask Deputy Paul Murphy, in his absence, to look at this again and maybe not take the free legal aid for this case, although a judge has granted it.  He should reconsider the issue and address it as it is wrong,” Mr Murphy said.

Fine Gael’s Dublin Fingal TD Alan Farrell said Mr Murphy’s decision to apply for legal aid was a “crime against the taxpayer”.

Mr Murphy reacted angrily to the accusations and called on the deputies to withdraw their claims, which he said were “outrageous”.

He said the deputies used a Dáil debate on gangland crime to make “cheap” and “unfounded” allegations against him.

Mr Murphy said the deputies attacked him because their parities are in favour of water charges and were “feeling sore” because anti-water charge protesters had “beaten” them. 

The Dublin South West TD said he applied for free legal aid after his court case was moved from the District Court to the Circuit Court by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

He said this meant he faced being sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

He said his legal fees for a six day case could total more €100,000.

Mr Murphy said all criminal charges against water protestors should be dropped following the suspension of water charges

“We should stop this persecution of protesters and a massive waste of taxpayers’ money,” he said.

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