Justice Minister rejects calls for inquiry into Jobstown investigation

Paul Murphy said "there isn't much question that there was an attempt to stitch us up for false imprisonment"

Justice Minister rejects calls for inquiry into Jobstown investigation

Image: Gavan Reilly

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is rejecting calls from both Solidarity and Sinn Fein for a public inquiry into the handling of the Jobstown trial.

Six men, including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, were acquitted yesterday of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell at a water charge protest in 2014.

He later called for an 'independent and public' inquiry into the way the investigation was handled, alleging there was a conspiracy to 'stitch people up' for participating in protests.

This evening, the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan rejected calls for an inquiry, stating: "This case has now concluded and a verdict reached by the court. Both the Courts and the DPP are independent in the exercise of their functions.

"I do not see any grounds for a public inquiry."

Deputy Murphy's party today held a press conference demanding an independent investigation into Garda handling of the case.

Solidarity claims there are a series of irregularities in how the case was taken and evidence brought.

In a statement, the party said: "The Jobstown trial was an attempt by the establishment to instil fear into the minds of working class people. It was a warning that if you protest and oppose their anti-working class policies you could end up in jail.

"The jury's decision to reject a case built on Garda evidence is a major new addition to the mounting litany of Garda scandals," it added.

Solidarity denies that yesterday's acquittal was "a watershed moment" - it says that would only have been true if the 'Jobstown Six' were convicted for their part in a protest.

Deputy Murphy, however, added: "I think there isn't much question that there was an attempt to stitch us up for false imprisonment. The question I'd like to know is at what level was that decided on."

Sinn Féin's justice spokesperson Jonathan O'Brien, meanwhile, also called for an inquiry, claiming the charges should never have been brought forward in the first place.

He argued: “While we obviously recognise the independence of the courts, the DPP, and the policing structures of the state, we also recognise that there is now huge public outrage following the vindication of the Jobstown protest.

“We believe there is a need for an inquiry that would examine how this trial came about and why these charges were brought in the first instance.”

Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly