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Gardaí investigating how media knew about Jobstown charges before Paul Murphy did

The Anti-Austerity Alliance TD has complained to the DPP and GSOC.

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy
Image: RollingNews.ie

PAUL MURPHY HAS formally complained to the DPP, the Garda Commisioner and GSOC after news of expected criminal charges in relation to the Jobstown protest was leaked to the media.

The Anti-Austerity Alliance TD believes he will be among the more than 20 people who are expected to be charged in relation to the controversial protests in the south Dublin suburb on 15 November last year.

Tánaiste Joan Burton and her advisor were trapped in a car for over two hours as demonstrators staged a sit-down protest. Burton was also struck by a water balloon and verbally abused.

News of the expected charges – which will include false imprisonment, violent disorder and criminal damage – was first reported by RTÉ News last night. Murphy said that those potentially facing trial were not made aware of the developments beforehand.

In a statement this evening, he said he had submitted letters of complaint to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Garda Commissioner and An Garda Síochána about the leaking of information. 

“The first I and other protesters heard about this was on the Nine O’Clock news last night on RTE. It is quite an incredible situation whereby the media is advised of charges in advance of those due to be charged,” he said.

It also is in clear contradiction to the justification that was given for the huge numbers of Gardai that were used to arrest all of the protesters – which is that we could have been potential flight risks. If we were flight risks, surely it would not make sense to leak this information to the media.

An Garda Siochána confirmed that an investigation into how the information appeared in the media was launched this morning.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier today, the Dublin South-West deputy said that the leaking of the information to the media in advance of anyone being formally charged is “completely wrong”.

It has resulted in a sense of fear amongst people who had been arrested that they will now be facing serious criminal charges.

Sinn Féin’s justice spokesperson Padraig MacLochlainn also expressed concern about the manner in which the news emerged.

“I was quite shocked that none of the individuals who have actually been charged have been made aware that they face the Circuit Court and it has been obviously leaked to the media,” he said.

Sinn Fein Gay Lesbian Referendums Padraig MacLochlainn Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

He noted that the Supreme Court chief justice Susan Denham had previously called for stronger disciplinary action against gardaí who leak to the media and added:

I believe that there should be an investigation to find out how and why this information was leaked to the media and that those responsible should face disciplinary proceedings.

Contacted earlier today, the Garda Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) said it would investigate any complaint made.

“Hypothetically we would investigate any complaints made but it would have to come from someone directly affected by the behaviour involved,” a spokesperson said.

GSOC is currently investigating allegations by independent TD Clare Daly that her arrest in January 2013 was leaked to the media by the gardaí.

The spokesperson added that it had not received any complaints in relation to the leaking of information about the Jobstown case so far.

The DPP declined to comment.

Originally published: 17.10

Paul Murphy: ‘No one told me I’m going to be charged over Jobstown protests’

Read: Joan Burton will be a key witness in Jobstown trial

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Hugh O'Connell

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