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dail questions

Paul Murphy's request to take Dáil questions about Jobstown protest should be facilitated, says Varadkar

The Taoiseach indicated it wouldn’t be in return for a Q&A with Niall Collins.

LAST UPDATE | 4 May 2023

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy’s request for a Dáil questions and answers session about his involvement in a protest in Jobstown in 2014 should be facilitated. 

Murphy was found not guilty of false imprisonment following the incident but Varadkar has nonetheless previously been critical of the PBP TD’s role.

Varadkar yesterday told the Dáil that Murphy should answer questions on his involvement in the protest after Murphy called for a questions and answers session with Minister of State Niall Collins. 

Following Varadkar’s suggestion yesterday, Murphy today tweeted that he would be “happy” to take questions in the Dáil on the incident if Collins also agreed to take questions. 

He said he had contacted the Ceann Comhairle to seek to arrange such Dáil time. 

“I suggest the same format be utilised for both Minister Collins and me, following recent procedure. In other words, a statement followed by Questions and Answers,” Murphy said. 

In a subsequent tweet today, Murphy said that his requested Q&A was not being facilitated. 

When asked about Murphy’s request, Varadkar today said that Murphy was acquitted of the wrongful imprisonment of two women but that what he did was not in line with the code of conduct for TDs, in his view.

“At the time, he didn’t come into the Dáil and didn’t answer any questions. If it is the case that he’s now written to the Ceann Comhairle and has offered to come into the Dáil to take questions, well then we will certainly facilitate that,” he said.

When asked about the Collins coming into the take questions in return, Varadkar:

“I think that’s cynical, and I think that’s unacceptable. He’s either willing to come in and take questions and make a statement in relation to his conduct, his ethics and what he did at that time, I don’t think it should be conditional on what somebody else does. I think that’s really cynical.”

Last week, Collins told the Dáil he had “no doubt” that his actions in relation to the sale of land in Co Limerick in 2008 were legally correct.

That statement came after it was revealed his wife purchased land from Limerick County Council in 2008, after he attended a meeting of the Bruff Area Committee where the sale was proposed.

Collins said the process was “all done in full transparency” and the sale occurred when he was no longer a member of the council.

There was criticism that the minister was permitted to give a statement rather than take questions from the opposition. 

Jobstown

The controversial protest took place on n 15 November 2014, at Fortunestown Road in Jobstown, Dublin, when ex-Labour leader Joan Burton was leaving an adult graduation event  and was heckled by protesters opposed to water charges being introduced on the back of government-imposed austerity measures.

Along with her adviser Karen O’Connell, the then minister for social protection was placed in a Garda car which was subsequently surrounded by demonstrators for a number of hours.

Murphy and five others were found not guilty of falsely imprisoning the two women.

 

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