The outcome of the Jobstown trial is causing chaos for the political establishment in Dublin after an attempted frame-up failed to jail a sitting TD and other left-wing activists.
Even the 26 County Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted concerns over the evidence given by police in the trial, which involved rehearsed falsehoods over the claims that socialist TD Paul Murphy (pictured) and others had sought to kidnap former Labour Tanaiste Joan Bruton by obstructing her vehicle at a 2014 protest against water charges.
The near-identical testimony of several Gardai police was exposed as untrue by video evidence, something Varadkar accepted should be looked at by the Garda Commissioner and senior management.
“We need to be able to trust that when the Gardai stand up in court and they say something happened that it did happen and it shouldn’t conflict with video evidence and if it does then that is a problem.”
The Taoiseach said that he would be “very concerned” at gardai giving evidence “that is not in line with the facts”.
Video evidence showed that for most of the delay when she claimed to be falsely imprisoned, Burton’s vehicle could have simply reversed away from the protest. There was also separate video evidence that Burton was engaged in an act of political theatre when she exhorted her assistant to use the situation to mobilise sentiment on social media against the protestors, who they referred to as “the dregs [of society]”.
Previous Fine Gael governments have always defended the Gardai from allegations of dishonesty, including at the juryless Special Criminal Court where hundreds of republicans have been jailed as IRA Volunteers, solely on the word of Gardai.
Recently, the integrity of the Gardai has been publicly called into question by the actions of whistleblowers and revelations of corruption, conspiracy and white collar crime in the force.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin made several criticisms of Mr Varadkar’s comments, describing them as “ill-judged” and “not fair”. Fine Gael’s minority government depends on Fianna Fail for its continued existence.
Mr Varadkar’s spokesman refuted the criticism. “Standards must be maintained. Public trust is sacrosanct,” he said.
Prosecutors, who have blithely ignored the outcome of the Jobstown trial and are pursuing related charges against other activists, also condemned the Taoiseach’s concerns.
Paul Murphy has called for a public inquiry into the affair, and described Varadkar’s comments were “the first crack in the wall of opposition” to an inquiry.
He said that the admission from the Taoiseach that the evidence from some gardai was contradictory to the video evidence proved that they could not be allowed to investigate themselves.
He said the gardai had given a “litany of false, inaccurate statements” in the trial.
“There needs to be a public inquiry to ask how... this conspiracy took place. Who was involved?” Mr Murphy asked during at a press conference.
He said the mainstream media was still repeating the false allegations made against the protestors during the trial. The protest against water charges was peaceful and spontaneous, he said, but the claim that any of his associates where chanting abuse was wrong.
There was anger that the mainstream media is going to extreme lengths to defend the police and the judicial system following a failed political trial to damage socialism in Ireland. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett singled out the Irish Times and Irish Independent and described some coverage by the mainstream media as an “absolute scandal” and “shocking”.
One of the defendants Kieran Mahon described it as an “inconvenient truth” that six people had been found not guilty.
Nearly 100 TDs, senators and academics have now added their names to a list calling for an official inquiry into the events leading up to the six men being charged with the false imprisonment.