Verdict must signal end to political policing
June 29th: Unite today welcomed the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict in the Jobstown trial as a ‘vindication of the right to protest’. Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said he hoped that the verdict would signal an end to political policing.
“The right to protest, like the right to freedom of association, is fundamental to our democracy and crucial to the trade union movement.
“The rights of workers to engage in protest action during disputes with employers is also something which has to be constantly defended, and this verdict gives vindication to those rights.
“As Unite said from the beginning of this case, sit down protests that delay politicians are a part of the fabric of democratic rights that people have won over many years. This case represented a very serious attempt by the Irish State at removing the right to protest. Clearly the State was pursuing these cases so as to criminalise the right to protest and by so doing to criminalise working class communities.
“It is outrageous that people could have faced long prison sentences and that a democratically elected parliamentarian – Paul Murphy TD – could thereby be removed from parliament.
“Today’s news is good news not just for the defendants who have had to endure this trial, but for all those who cherish our hard-won freedoms.
“It is clear that the motivation behind the charges faced by the Jobstown defendants was to demonise and de-legitimise water protesters.
“Fortunately, that attempt failed and today’s verdict must signal the end of political policing”, Jimmy Kelly said.