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Paul Murphy

"I'm not some sort of master criminal that deserves to have six gardaí at my door"

TD Paul Murphy has been speaking to reporters, following his release from garda custody.

Updated at 22.30pm

Daragh Brophy / YouTube

“THE GARDAÍ WEREN’T rude. They were quite forceful. I mean, when I answered the door they immediately went and forced their way in the door while saying that they were arresting me.

“The whole thing was an intimidating experience.”

TD Paul Murphy has been giving more details about his arrest, following his release from Garda custody shortly after 3.30pm this afternoon.

The Anti Austerity Alliance TD was questioned for several hours by officers investigating last November’s protest in Jobstown, during which Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car.

Murphy was arrested at his home at around 7am this morning. His partner had earlier said on radio that the politician was still in his pyjamas when gardaí called.

“You wake up… You’re half awake and all of a sudden there’s six gardaí standing there — do you know what I mean? I’m not some sort of master criminal that deserves to have six gardaí at my door,” Murphy told a scrum of reporters, who had been waiting outside Terenure Garda Station.

“It was an intimidating experience.

“There was no abuse by the gardaí or anything like that,” he added.

He said officers had told him they were investigating the false imprisonment of the Tánaiste and her personal assistant, who was also in the car.

No charges have been brought, Murphy said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme this evening, he said it was a “worrying development” and claimed he is “convinced it was a political decision”.

He questioned why just four people had been arrested when hundreds protested on the day in Jobstown.

“I didn’t falsely imprison the Tánaiste,” he claimed. He said the investigation was a waste of Garda resources, stating that 26 gardaí were involved in today’s arrests and that over 280 hours of CCTV footage was watched.

master Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Pre-dawn operation

Two councillors from the Anti Austerity Alliance were also arrested as part of this morning’s pre-dawn Garda operation, along with a member of republican group Éirigí. All have since been released without charge.

Murphy claimed gardaí were trying to come up with “trumped up charges” to damage the anti-water charges movement.

He reiterated that he had not organised the protest in Jobstown, said anyone who claimed anything to the contrary was lying.

Asked what had happened in the Garda Station, he said:

I was in a cell all day apart from the time I was speaking to my solicitor, speaking to [his AAA colleague] Joe Higgins and I was interrogated and questioned for close to four hours.

He said half of the questions from Gardaí were based on radio interviews. He was asked whether he stood over what he’d said during media appearances in the days after ‘Jobstown’.

The other half of questions were based on footage from RTÉ, from CCTV and elsewhere. He said he had also been questioned about footage filmed at another time, in which he told a meter installer he had been “elected to break the law”.

m2 Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Didn’t answer questions

“On the advice of my solicitor I didn’t give any comment,” Murphy said.

“I was cooperative in the sense that I agreed to have my photo taken, to give finger-prints — all that kind of thing but I think it was correct not to engage in what was a trumped up charge.”

He said officers had told him they were sending a file to the DPP, but that he had been given no indication when he could expect to hear of any developments.

The Joan incident

Asked whether he still stood over what happened to Joan Burton last November, he said he stood over “the right of people to protest, including having sit-down peaceful protests”.

If people are going to be arrested for false imprisonment, then sit-down protests have been made illegal.

He said the Tánaiste had ‘hammed up’ the Jobstown incident in the days after it happened, in order to “gain political capital and damage the anti-water charges movement”.

prot Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Around a dozen protesters who had gathered outside the garda station carrying signs and chanting ‘free Paul’ cheered as the TD was released.

His Dáil colleague Joe Higgins and AAA councillor Brian Leech (the only South Dublin representative for the party not to be arrested this morning) joined him as he spoke to reporters.

Read: That was NOT a peaceful protest — Burton

Read: Joan Burton trapped in her car for hours by anti-water protesters

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