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Taoiseach says Burton was effectively kidnapped in Jobstown

The Taoiseach also criticised the actions of AAA TD Paul Murphy, who played a leading role in Saturday’s Jobstown protest.

Updated at 5.24pm

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has compared what happened to Tánaiste Joan Burton on Saturday as almost amounting to a kidnapping.

Commenting the Labour leader’s ordeal — which saw her trapped in her car for almost three hours outside a further education college as angry protesters banged on the vehicle and refused to let it leave — Kenny said what had happened was “disgraceful”.

Speaking to RTÉ News, the Taoiseach also described the actions of Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy as immature.

Kenny was attending an event in Castlebar this afternoon hosted by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Water charge protesters are planning a demonstration at another event to be attended by the Taoiseach later this evening, in Sligo

Weekend protests

Earlier, Murphy — who took part in Saturday’s protest, and took on a leading role as it progressed —  said that what happened in Jobstown was a reaction to the impact of austerity.

He said that he did not feel that Burton could have expected much better than what she faced on Saturday.

She can’t have expected to be greeted by flowers.

Video footage placed online after the event showed the Tánaiste being hit with a water balloon and being called a “c***” by protesters standing just a few feet away.

Source: Seamus Conboy/YouTube

Labour junior minister Áodhán Ó Ríordán said that the Cósan college was “not the place” for such a protest.

“This was an event for people who were in second-chance education.”

Ó Ríordán pushed Murphy to denounce the violence at the protests.

However, Murphy denied that he was an organiser or ringleader of the protests, and added:

“I would denounce any violence or threats.”

The two men were speaking to RTÉ’s Keelin Shanley earlier.

‘Attends a lot of protests’

Murphy said that he keeps a megaphone in his car boot because he “attends a lot of protests” and this is why he had been seen with one.

He added that gardaí had asked him to attempt to calm the crowd.

Ó Ríordán asked Murphy what he was doing for two people arrested at the protests, while Murphy shot back, asking Ó Ríordán what he was doing for people injured in water protests.

“I’d ask Aodhán what he would do for the guy whose leg was run over by an Irish Water van or kids who were pepper sprayed.”

Ó Ríordán said that Murphy was leading protesters on.

What Paul Murphy wants to do is lead people to the top of the hill and then abandon them, like his party did with bin charges.

Video

Elsewhere, a video showing gardaí removing a woman who attempted to reach the Taoiseach’s car on Kildare Street has gone viral.

In the video the woman is at the front of the car on Kildare Street when she is thrown out of the way by three gardaí, seemingly hitting a bollard.

Source: edward982/YouTube

Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy.

Read: Video shows Joan Burton being hit with a water balloon at Jobstown protest

Read: Here’s what we know about the new water charges regime

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