Jobstown dubbed a stunning defeat for political establishment and victory for right to protest

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has today rejected allegations of any Government agenda in relation to the Jobstown trial.

Solidarity - People Before Profit TD Mick Barry called today’s trial verdict “a stunning defeat for the political establishment of this country”.

TD Paul Murphy and five others were found by a jury not guilty of restricting the personal liberty of Joan Burton and her then assistant Karen O’Connell on November 15 2014, at Fortunestown Road in Jobstown, Dublin.

Announcing the “not guilty” verdicts during Leaders Questions in the Dáil today, Cork North Central TD Barry called for all the remaining charges related to the Jobstown protest be dropped.

“You wanted - the political establishment in this country wanted – to create a powerful chill factor, a powerful warning against anyone who would engage in serious protest against Governments, against austerity, and against the anti-working-class agenda,” he said.

“You have failed.”

Ms Fitzgerald rejected the accusations, saying that TDs should not to discuss ongoing court cases in the Dáil.

“We can discuss lots of things in this House, but we certainly do not re-run the evidence that’s given in a trial, and I do not intend to do that now,” she said.

“I think your talk about a Government agenda in relation to this is quite simply untrue. The courts do their work and we do our work in this House.”

Earlier, speaking from Belfast, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the not guilty verdict in the trial of the Jobstown protesters.

“The verdict is victory for the right to protest. The charge of false imprisonment was clearly trumped up,” he said.

“There were charges with an obvious political purpose - to demonise water charges protesters.

“The right to protest is a democratic and hard won right. It cannot be brushed aside or diluted to suit a political agenda.

“This is good news for everybody who holds that right dear. I want to send my good wishes to the protesters and their families.”

The Labour Party issued a statement saying it noted the verdict of the jury.

"The investigation of any criminal matter, and the conduct of any associated prosecution, is decided by An Garda Siochana and the law officers of the State who operate with complete independence from the political system," it said.

"As we have been all along, the Labour Party remains resolutely focused on our central tasks of holding the Government to account, and campaigning for decency, justice and equality in society."

Joan Collins TD welcomed the verdict, stating: “The news that the jury acquitted the defendants accused of False Imprisonment of Joan Burton and her assistant is a victory for the ability to peacefully protest.

“It is a victory for the labour movement, student movement, pro-choice movement or any campaign that wants to partake in effective peaceful protest.

“It will come as a great relief to those accused of such a serious crime – carrying a maximum life sentence – and to their friends and families.

“It should result in the rest of the defendants never seeing the inside of a courtroom on these, now obvious to all, ridiculous charges.

“The role of the Gardaí again comes under scrutiny in this state given their actions in the policing on the day, investigation and trial.

“The directions of the judge to ignore statements made by Gardaí that were clearly shown to be untrue by video evidence really is damning and worthy of follow up.”

“The continued existence in public life of Joan Burton TD and Minister Catherine Zappone must also come under severe scrutiny. They both played along in this charade of a case. They should now both do the decent thing and retire from public life and office immediately.”

KEYWORDS: Jobstown Trial


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