Howlin: Public order offences should have been brought against Jobstown Six

The Labour leader says what happened at the water protest was "vile"

Howlin: Public order offences should have been brought against Jobstown Six

Labour leader Brendan Howlin on the plinth in Leinster House | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin says 'it was a mistake' in not pursuing public order offences against the Jobstown Six, instead of false imprisonment.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five other men were all cleared this week of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her advisor during an anti-water protest charge demonstration in 2014.

Mr Howlin says the party had "no hand, act or part" in the prosecution.

In an interview with Yates on Sunday, Mr Howlin was asked if the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) made a mistake with charging the men with false imprisonment instead of public order offences.

"I can say now honestly, yes.

"I deliberately said nothing from the beginning to the end of this I stayed quiet on this because I thought 'let judicial process take its course'.

"But what happened was vile: the language used against two women.

"I'm trekking around the country right now, doing my best to get women to involve themselves in politics.

"And if I can even persuade women to do that - looking at what happened in Jobstown - and having people say: 'that's alright - you can call people the most vile and vicious, sexist terms' that you wouldn't use obviously against a man. You can throw things at them".

"We will not get people with passion and vision involved in politics if it is acceptable now to have that sort of bullying, vileness, spitting at them".

Mr Howlin says he has been involved in political protest himself, "but never targeting individuals with vileness like that".