On 24 April the biggest political trial in Ireland for a generation began. Seven people stand accused of 'false imprisonment' of then deputy prime minister Joan Burton during an anti-water charges sit-down protest and slow march in Jobstown, Dublin, in 2014. A 17 year old has already been found guilty of this charge in children's court and a further eleven protesters face related charges in the future. A guilty verdict would hold a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Among the first batch of adult defendants is Paul Murphy, member of the Irish parliament and of the Socialist Party' (CWI Ireland).
Below is a report on the trial, as Joan Burton takes the stand.
There were audible gasps from the packed courtroom on day five of the #jobstownnotguilty trial during the cross-examination of former Labour leader, Joan Burton.
Burton was being questioned for a second day by the barristers for the defendants.
The line of questioning was focused on the impact of the austerity policies which were implemented by the Fine Gael/Labour government, and how there was widespread anger against the sell-out of the Labour Party on most of it pre-election promises.
The defence put it to Burton that her party had been “wiped out” and “destroyed” because they had betrayed people. She replied by defending their record and her own record personally, but accepted only that there a “perception” that they had broken promises.
The defence pointed out that this anger was reflected in the 2016 general results when the Labour Party dropped to seven seats in the Irish parliament.
Burton put this down to “populist politicians” from the ultra-left who wanted to “destroy” the Labour Party and social democracy.
There was a gasp in the courtroom as she then proceeded to tell the court, “I’m one of the people who succeed James Connolly as leader of the Labour Party……and I carry on his ideas”. Burton then accused political opponents on the Left of wanting to destroy the party of Connolly [James Connolly (1868-1916) was an revolutionary socialist, Marxist thinker and outstanding workers’ leader].
Joan Burton’s testimony began yesterday, for one hour, and she was crossed examined for three hours by the defence. Yet, all the media coverage focused on her testimony.
There was very little coverage of the hours of defence questioning. The Irish Times, supposedly the paper of record, devoted a whole six lines from their coverage to the defence.
Not to be outdone, the Independent newspaper did not report on the defence questioning. Instead it just made a passing reference to the fact that the defence questioned Burton.
For two years in the lead-up to this trial, the media imposed a black-out of the #jobstownnotguilty campaign, claiming that they could not report on it because it was ‘before the courts’.
Any person would think that since it is now before the courts they would report the trial, but it seems that they are just intent on ignoring the Jobstown defendants’ campaign and will continue with their one-sided coverage!
Follow the Jobstown trail at: https://jobstowntrial.wordpress.com/