The Jobstown Six protesters claim their trial was “a stitch-up” as part of attempts to suppress the growth of the left-wing movement.
Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and his colleagues are demanding the justice minister set up an independent inquiry into what they claim was a conspiracy to prosecute them.
He said the not-guilty verdict in the trial against him and five others, over claims of falsely imprisoning former tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser, Karen O’Connell, is a “defeat” for the established parties.
At a press conference in Dublin in the wake of the jury verdict, the group claimed gardaí conspired to pervert the course of justice.
The group outlined how — despite 180 mainly garda statements during their trial — video evidence of the November 2014 anti-water protest in Jobstown, Tallaght, had contradicted evidence from the force and ultimately helped seal their acquittal.
Mr Murphy said: “Statements in general were obliterated by the video [evidence].”
Another of the Jobstown Six, Ciaran Mahon, said that “politically motivated” charges had been levelled against the group in an attempt to attack the anti-water charges movement.
The group said gardaí had identical statements; had interviewed local residents but not protesters; and that Ms Burton had immediately given a statement to Garda headquarters after the protest.
Language used by other politicians at the time, including claims the protest was “thuggery” and involved “false imprisonment”, proved the whole investigation was a “stitch up”, the group alleged.
“This was and still is a political trial,” said Mr Murphy, adding that there was a “politically driven” investigation to try to split up the anti-water charges movement.
At the time of the Jobs-town protest, the Labour Party had experienced a massive backlash over water charges and cutbacks — the defendants during the trial had argued their protest peacefully reflected this.
“False” garda statements had led the DPP to take the case, said Mr Murphy, but it could not be stood over in court.
Mr Murphy and fellow Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger could not say yesterday how the investigation into the Jobstown protest was a conspiracy theory.
“We don’t know the back channels that were there,” said Mr Murphy.
The group wants the justice minister to initiate an independent inquiry into the garda investigation of the Jobstown protest and the prosecution of others to be dropped.
The inquiry should be public and look at who gardaí interviewed as well as their own statements.
Mr Murphy said he did not have much faith in a complaint being made to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission after having made previous complaints about issues.
The Department of Justice did not reply to queries from the Irish Examiner about the Jobstown trial yesterday while gardaí said it would not be appropriate to comment on the outcome of the trial.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved