Garda review to look at response and investigation into Jobstown protest

Leo Varadkar has said evidence given by gardaí should be looked into

Garda review to look at response and investigation into Jobstown protest

(Left to right) Michael Banks, Paul Murphy TD, Scott Masterson outside the Central Criminal Court, as a jury found Paul Murphy TD and five others not guilty of falsely imprisoning Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell in 2014 | Image: RollingNews.ie

An Garda Síochána say a review into its response and the subsequent investigation into the Jobstown protest in November 2014 is underway.

It says this will be from "a lessons-learnt perspective".

The review will be conducted by Assistant Commissioner Barry O'Brien and examine the following areas:

  • Key learning points
  • Identification of organisational practices/policies which require improvement
  • Training
  • Any other issues of note

It comes after the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and her senior management should "look into" the evidence given by members of the force in the Jobstown trial.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and five others were found not guilty of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell at the water charge protest.

Speaking to RTÉ Prime Time, Mr Varadkar said: "There is one thing that I would say and I have no difficulty saying it, people need to trust what the gardaí say on the stand, and I can understand that perhaps in a scenario whereby lots of things are happening quickly and people are caught up in the heat of the moment they may have a recollection that isn't exactly as things happened.

"But I would be very concerned if its the case that we would ever have gardaí on a stand in the court giving evidence that is not in line with the facts, that is not in line with the video evidence and I think that there is something there that needs to be looked at both by the Garda Commissioner and senior garda management.

"We need to be able to trust that when the gardaí stand up in court and they say something happened that it did happen - and it shouldn't conflict with video evidence and if it does then that is a problem."

However, Mr Varadkar also reiterated that there should be no public inquiry into the incident.

"I don't think a public inquiry would actually serve any purpose, you know we've had a trial.

"There's been a trial, went on for nine weeks, the jury heard the evidence from both sides, and they decided to acquit and nobody is disputing that.

"As has been the case with other things, you know for example the trial of Sean FitzPatrick, I do think we need to consider why the prosecutions weren't successful.

"I don't think this necessarily requires a public inquiry but we do need to obviously examine these things."

Paul Murphy arriving at the Central Criminal Court of Justice in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

In response, TD Paul Murphy said: "The call for a public inquiry into the attempted stitch up of protesters in the Jobstown garda investigation has been met with a wall of opposition from the government up until now.

"Instead of engaging with the clear evidence of a conspiracy, Government representatives have generally tried to distract from it.

"The Taoiseach's comments this evening represent the first crack in the wall of opposition to a public inquiry.

"If, as appears to be the case, he accepts at least the possibility of lying by gardaí under oath in the Jobstown trial, then the notion of the gardaí investigating themselves is evidently inadequate.

"It reaffirms the need for an independent public inquiry. We will be stepping forward our campaign to achieve that."