Taoiseach rejects call for Jobstown inquiry

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy has claimed the 'Jobstown Six' were the victims of a "stitch-up"

Taoiseach rejects call for Jobstown inquiry

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

The Taoiseach has said that there are no plans for a public inquiry into the handling of the Jobstown case.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Leo Varadkar said Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and his five co-accused received a fair trial and were acquitted by the jury.

He warned however that the acquittal does not mean their actions were acceptable.

On Thursday, all six members of the so-called 'Jobstown Six' were acquitted of falsely imprisoning the former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell at a water charge protest in 2014.

Deputy Murphy has called for an "independent and public" inquiry into the way the investigation was handled - claiming that there was a conspiracy to 'stitch people up' for participating in protests.

This afternoon, Deputy Murphy was cautioned by the Ceann Comhairle a number of times as he attempted to have his claims of a conspiracy included on the Dáil record.

He insisted the court case could have serious ramifications for the right to protest in Ireland.

"There has been a bit of an attempt to laugh at the notion of a conspiracy," he said. "A conspiracy is a secret plan by a group of people to do something unlawful or harmful."

"Allow me to give just one simple example, although I could give many. 

"Three gardaí - under oath up to rank of superintendent - saying that I said 'will we keep her here all night' when I said no such thing.

"You can talk about frailty of human memory for one, maybe even for two but for three guards to say and hear a thing that simply didn't happen?"

The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl warned Mr Murphy that he was not speaking in front of an appeals court or the Supreme Court and called on the Taoiseach to clarify whether there are any plans for a public inquiry into the Jobstown case.

Mr Varadkar said the government had received no proposals calling for a public inquiry:

"It appears to me that Deputy Murphy and his co-defendants got a fair trial," he said.

"The jury heard both sides of the case and all the evidence and they decided to acquit, but I do not believe that means that the behaviour we saw in Jobstown was decent or acceptable.

"I think that the way Deputy Burton and Karen O'Connell were treated was very wrong. I think they were terrorised. I think you can see the fear in their faces when one looks at the coverage.

The Justice Minister Charles Flanagan has already rejected calls for an inquiry.

He said the case had reached a verdict and pointed out that both the courts and the Director of Public Prosecutions remain independent in the exercise of their functions.

He insisted there is no grounds for a public inquiry into the case.