Jobstown protester charges shaping up to be rough justice - Crowe
Dublin South West representative Seán Crowe TD has expressed his concern over the severity of the charges brought against water charge protesters after a controversial incident in Jobstown last year that involved the Tánaiste Joan Burton. Crowe said that the trial was shaping up to be rough justice with many people facing possibly long jail sentences.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“Undoubtedly the protest in question could have been handled better but the fact that 27 people are now facing jail for charges including, false imprisonment is severe and makes for uncomfortable reading.
“The nature of the original arrests with Garda raiding homes in the early hours of the morning combined with a tipped off well informed media in tow, is deeply worrying. The people involved including the elected representatives were clearly no flight risk and Garda interviews could have been arranged at any reasonable and mutually convenient time.
“The arrests seemed disproportionate and designed to undermine and frighten people from supporting the anti-water charge campaign
“In my opinion the timing and manner of these arrests are designed to get maximum negative media coverage.
“This controversial high profile case has all the hallmarks of rough justice with people facing possibly long prison sentences.
“The right to protest is a democratic and hard won right.
“There is also a responsibility on protest organisers to ensure that they are stewarded and peaceful in nature.
“What is also deeply worrying about this case is the fact the media appear to know more about what is occurring before those who are now facing serious charges.
“The Jobstown protest also highlighted serious operational flaws in the Garda handling of the demonstration. The inadequate availability of local Tallaght based Gardaí and the controversial call up of the emergency Public Order Unit all contributed to the mess that ensued.”