Paul Murphy accuses Taoiseach of defamation over anti-water protest remarks

Socialist TD Paul Murphy has accused the Taoiseach and two of his ministers of defaming him in connection with the Jobstown anti-water protest.

The Dublin South-West politician and five others were acquitted last month of falsely imprisoning former tanaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton at the demonstration in Tallaght, Dublin in 2014.

Mr Murphy has reported Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over remarks he made during heated exchanges in the Dail this week that the protest was "thuggery" and "violent".

In an 800 word letter to Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, signed by the TD and his party colleagues Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry, they claim that the Taoiseach broke parliamentary rules.

"Deputy Murphy has been found not guilty of false imprisonment," the politicians stated.

"It is also a matter of public record that Deputy Murphy never engaged in, nor encouraged violence or threatening or abusive behaviour in any way. Deputy Murphy is entitled to have his good name and integrity upheld against these allegations and insinuations."

The Solidarity TDs also referred remarks by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, the Minister of State for Higher Education, and Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan.

And they claimed that the nature of the Taoiseach's remarks may not have been immediately apparent to the Ceann Comhairle.

The exchange took place on Wednesday at Leaders' Questions in the Dail when Mr Murphy accused gardai of perjury during his trial and that their evidence had been contradicted by video footage.

Mr Murphy has been accused of an abuse of parliamentary privilege.

The Ceann Comhairle took legal advice on the accusations about gardai and has referred that to the Committee on Procedure.

PA


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