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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Joan Burton 'would have to be a key witness' if Paul Murphy goes on trial

The Socialist TD suggested that the Tánaiste would have to give evidence against him over events in Jobstown last November.

Joan Burton
Joan Burton
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

SOCIALIST TD PAUL Murphy has raised the possibility that Tánaiste Joan Burton would have to testify against him in court if he goes on trial over events in Jobstown last November.

According to a report in the Irish Examiner earlier this week, gardaí have recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to direct charges against Murphy, two councillors, and five other protesters over events in Jobstown on 15 November last.

Burton and her special adviser Karen O’Connell were held in a car for over two hours at the anti-water charge protest. It is ultimately down to the DPP to decide if charges should be brought against individuals.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday Murphy said it would also be a “potentially major political embarrassment to the government” as any court case could go on for some time. He added:

Joan Burton would have to be a key witness and I think it would do major damage to the government, in reality, for them to be seen to be pursuing leading figures of the anti-water charges movement in this way.

Murphy said it was important to draw a distinction between a recommendation from gardaí and the DPP actually bringing charges.

He said: “Personally, I wasn’t surprised to hear the gardaí had recommended it because I think if they don’t recommend prosecutions then how do you justify the dawn raids?

“How do you justify the six, eight, ten gardaí in people’s homes in the morning? I think they had to recommend prosecutions in order to stand the thing up.”

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Murphy said his understanding would be that a jury trial would take place if he is charged with false imprisonment.

In that case he said he hoped “the jury would see the reality of what’s happening here, that it’s clearly a political attack on a movement”.

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste declined to comment on what they said was a “hypothetical situation” adding they would let the office of the DPP “proceed with its work”.

Read: Plan to deduct water charges from wages is ‘signing a death warrant for Labour’

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Hugh O'Connell

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