Jobstown trial: Garda describes escorting Joan Burton through 'rugby maul' of protesters

Accused (17) denies falsely imprisoning ex-Tánaiste and adviser during 2014 demonstration

Jobstown trial: Garda describes escorting Joan Burton through 'rugby maul' of protesters

Joan Burton talking to the media near Blanchardstown, Dublin | Image:

A garda inspector who escorted Joan Burton through a crowd of water charge protesters in 2014 had said it was like "moving through a rugby maul".

Inspector Derek Maguire was giving evidence at the trial of a 17-year-old boy who is accused of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste and her adviser on November 15th, 2014.

On the day in question, Mr Maguire had accompanied the ex-Labour leader from a graduation ceremony in Jobstown in Dublin to a nearby church.

Several protesters began following them and he said he called for backup as the crowd grew outside the church, telling her adviser, Karen O’Connell, that it would be best to leave.

They got into an unmarked car but were unable to move after it became surrounded. Ms Burton claims they were trapped there for up to three hours.

Mr Maguire told the court that the accused had a megaphone and was recording what was happening on his phone.

He said it took 10 minutes to move them 30 yards through what he described as a "rugby maul" to get them into a marked garda jeep.

The court heard they were later moved to separate cars and driven away.

Earlier, Judge John King refused to abort the trial after an issue arose with some evidence.

He decided it would be best to keep going and adjourn at a later stage if necessary.

The judge said a speedy trial was essential because the boy will turn 18 in a few months, meaning he can no longer be treated as a juvenile.

The trial was due to be shown video footage this morning, but a legal issue arose in relation to the admissibility of some of its content.