Higgins: Murphy arrest is 'political policing'

Socialist TD Joe Higgins says the arrest of one of his party colleagues is "political policing".

Higgins: Murphy arrest is 'political policing'

Socialist TD Joe Higgins says the arrest of one of his party colleagues is "political policing".

Mr Higgins made the accusation after his colleague Paul Murphy was arrested by Gardaí this morning.

Deputy Murphy is one of four men being held at stations across Dublin this morning, in relation to the alleged false imprisonment of Tánaiste Joan Burton at a protest in Jobstown three months ago.

Mr Higgins says the arrest is a clear attempt to smear the anti-water charges movement.

He said: "It's political policing, it's an attempt to try and damage the anti-water charges movement and it won't succeed.

"I think there'll be outrage among the hundreds and thousands of people protesting against the water charges that this type of action would be taken against activists."

Dave Murphy, spokesman for the Socialist Party, said two Anti-Austerity Alliance councillors on South Dublin County Council were also among the four arrested.

Paul Murphy was arrested at his home in Ballinteer, councillor Kieran Mahon was arrested at his home in Tallaght, while Mick Murphy was arrested while making his way to work from his home in Whitechurch, Rathfarnham, he said.

The spokesman said: “This was done at seven in the morning, with teams of five and six gardaí turning up at their house.

“It is part of political policing, to try and damage the anti-water charges movement and to portray protesters as criminals.”

Ruth Coppinger, a Socialist Party TD for Dublin West, said this morning’s arrest operation was a “disgraceful” waste of policing resources.

“Three of the four people arrested are leading members of the Anti-Austerity Alliance,” she told RTÉ.

“These are people that have been dragged from their families at seven o’clock this morning.

“It is a cheap attempt to denigrate and weaken the anti-water charges movement as we approach a make-or-break time, when the (water charge) bills are coming out and when there’s going to be huge civil disobedience in terms of mass non-payment of those bills.”

More in this section