Tánaiste denies any "government agenda" after Jobstown protesters found not guilty

All six people accused of falsely imprisoning former Tánaiste Joan Burton in 2014 have been found not guilty

Tánaiste denies any "government agenda" after Jobstown protesters found not guilty

Pictured are Paul Murphy TD and five others outside the Central Criminal Court today, 29-06-2017. Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews

The Tánaiste has denied there was any "government agenda" in regards to the Jobstown trial after all six accused were found not guilty.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five others were alleged to have falsely imprisoned former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell during a water charges protest in Jobstown, Dublin in 2014.

The prosecution had alleged that the women were trapped inside two garda vehicles when protesters surrounded them as they tried to leave.

Earlier today the jury in the trial had asked the court to replay some video footage of the demonstrations.

This afternoon, following three hours of deliberation, jury members cleared all six accused.

They returned to a packed court room just after 12:15pm this afternoon.

Mr Murphy was the first of the six accused to learn he had been found not guilty on both counts.

The unanimous verdict was met with loud cheers and applause.

The huge crowd descended into silence as his five co-accused were also cleared of the charges - but the room erupted again when the foreperson was finished delivering the verdicts.

Paul Murhpy TD outside Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, 29-06-2017. Image: Sam Boal / RollingNews

Speaking outside the court following the verdict, Mr Murphy gave this reaction:

“We would very much deeply like to thank all of our legal teams who, from all of our solicitors, our junior council our senior council played a really exception role from the very start of the trial of exposing the hypocrisy, the lies, the empty promise of Joan Burton to the Guards, who were exposed in terms of the lies that they told,” he said.

“I would also like to thank all of the trade unions, trade union branches, trade unionists who supported us.

“All the different TDs, senators, MEPs who came down to support us, councillors etc., and everybody here in particular I would say.”

Speaking in the Dáil following the verdict, the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said it was "quite simply untrue" to suggest any vested interest in the running or outcome of the trial.

However Solidarity TD Mick Barry called for all outstanding charges relating to the Jobstown protest to be dropped.

He said the acquittal of the Jobstown Six was a "stunning defeat" for the TDs on the government benches:

“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 government, against austerity and against the anti-working class agenda,” he said.

“You have failed.”

A large media presence gathered outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court as the six accused left the court as free men.

Additional reporting from Frank Greaney and Gavan Reilly