We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy Leah Farrell/

Varadkar suggests Paul Murphy should be quizzed on 2014 Jobstown protest in heated Dáil session

Varadkar said it is the job of Dáil Éireann to hold ministers to account.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has responded to a question about Niall Collins TD by suggesting that Paul Murphy TD should answer Dáil questions about the controversial 2014 Jobstown protest.

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.

Today, Murphy objected to the Dáil’s proposed order of business for the week on the grounds that he found Collins statement “deeply unsatisfactory” and requested a questions and answers session.

“He failed to clearly state whether he knew that his wife had expressed an interest in the land when he participated in the decision to put it up for sale,” Murphy said.

Varadkar later questioned whether it would be more appropriate for Murphy to answer questions relating to his involvement in a protest in 2014.

On 15 November 2014, at Fortunestown Road in Jobstown, Dublin, ex-Labour Party leader Joan Burton was leaving an adult graduation event when she 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 Labour leader 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.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Varadkar said: “It is the job of Dáil Éireann to hold ministers to account.

“Of course ministers should come in here and make statements and answer questions in relation to their ministerial responsibilities. However, this matter doesn’t relate to the Minister of State, Deputy Collins’ ministerial responsibilities.

“It relates to the events of the Bruff Area Committee 16 years ago. That’s a different matter, in my view.”

He continued: “If Deputies are going to come in here and account for their actions that are not related to their ministerial functions, why is it Deputy you didn’t come in here?

“You detained two women against their will in Jobstown several years ago.”

Murphy said this was “scandalous” and an “abuse of privilege” and he had been found not guilty.

Varadkar replied: “Found not guilty of a particular offence.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald described the Taoiseach’s response to Murphy as “pretty disgraceful”.

The Taoiseach replied: “I’m not surprised the Deputy (McDonald) believes my earlier response was disgraceful because she is another person who refuses to come into this House to answer questions.

“Accountability shouldn’t be just for ministers. Questions have been raised about her party’s finances, and about her party’s links to organised crime and she will not come in here and make a statement and take questions.

“These are more serious matters than what happened at the Bruff Area Committee 16 years ago, and she refused to come in here and answer questions about her party’s finances and her party’s links to organised crime.”

He later added: “McDonald demands accountability of others and evade it always when it relates to herself and her party.”

McDonald responded to Varadkar, calling him “shameful”. 

The Sinn Féin leader has previously said her party stands against organised crime.

On 20 April, she told the Dáil: “Sinn Fáin stands 100% with law-abiding citizens, with the members of An Garda Síochána, with the the court system, all of it, including the Special Criminal Court, against the threat of organised crime.”

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel