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Dublin: 21°C Monday 8 August 2022

TD accused of referring to gardaí as 'dogs' in the Dáil

There were extremely heated scenes in the Dáil during the discussion about Jobstown.

THERE WERE EXTREMELY heated scenes in the Dáil this afternoon, as the Socialist party raised the issue of arrests in relation to the Jobstown water charges protest.

Several people have been arrested in recent days, including Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy and a number of teenagers. All have since been released without charge.

During the demonstration, the Tánaiste was trapped in her car for almost three hours.

In the Dáil this afternoon, Murphy’s colleague Ruth Coppinger asked Joan Burton:

How does it sit with you, you personally, that complaints you made … are resulting in these outrageous raids by gardaí?

joan job

Coppinger said Burton and some of her “friends in the media” had blown the Jobstown incident out of all proportion.

She asked the Tánaiste why so many Garda resources had been devoted to the arrests while abused women “can’t get barring orders” from their partners.

“Why do you feel that you’re so special?”

She told Burton there is message going around that “the firstborn of every house in Jobstown” will be “rounded up” to appease the Tánaiste.


Coppinger used the phrase ‘calling in the dogs’, something that was quickly seized upon by Burton and other Government members.

Paul Kehoe and Bernard Durkan called on Coppinger to withdraw her comment, with Kehoe stating: “She should not be allowed to leave this house without withdrawing that scurrilous remark”.


Coppinger clarified her comments, saying it was a figure of speech. Fellow socialist Joe Higgins described Burton and Kehoe’s remarks as “a pathetic attempt to deflect attention”.

“In the English language, we use figures of speech … She did not refer to members of the gardaí as dogs,” Higgins said, adding: “Read your Shakespeare, Tánaiste.”

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joe h

As for the arrests themselves, Burton said they were “a matter for gardaí”, adding that people could complain about their treatment to GSOC if they wanted.

She denied Mary Lou McDonald’s accusation that Garda actions amounted to “political policing”.

Michael Kitt was acting as Ceann Comhairle today and had to attempt to restore order several times, eventually pleading: “Ah come on, please.”

At one point a heckler shouted out the not-so-helpful suggestion of “Somebody call the guards.”

We need a lie down.

Jobstown: Four, including 14-year-old boy, arrested

Paul Murphy released from garda custody, says he didn’t answer questions about Jobstown

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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