Wexford councillor urged to remove 'Howlin posting'
FORMER mayor and Labour Party stalwart Joe Ryan is urging People Before Profit councillor Deirdre Wadding to take down a Facebook posting which repeats unfounded claims that Minister Brendan Howlin's niece heads the 'Department (sic) of Public Prosecutions who decided to prosecute Deputy Paul Murphy and 22 others for the false imprisonment of Joan Burton at Jobstown'.
The claims, which recently began appearing on social media, are made by a slew of left-wing groups including those from the Right to Water Movement, and criticise Howlin, the gardai and his 'niece' they name as Elizabeth Howlin.
Elizabeth Howlin is the head of the Directing Division at the DPP's office, but is not the Minister's niece and is not related to him.
The particular item re-posted by Deidre Wadding does come with a health warning, saying that the person is question (Liz Howlin) is not in fact any relation to Brendan Howlin. However, she then says the rest of the points are valid:
The post, by someone calling themselves Tiger Reborn says: 'Labour TD Brendan Howlin's niece Elizabeth Howlin works for Department of Public Prosecutions and is the Head of Directing Division which took the decision to prosecute AAA TD Paul Murphy & 22 others for the false imprisonment of Labour TD Joan Burton at Jobstown, Tallaght West Dublin on March 3, 2015.
Quting Paul Murphy's views the posting says: 'It stretches the definition of false imprisonment beyond all recognition. This is clearly an attack on the right to protest. I do not believe anyone should face charges for delaying the Tanaiste in her car for a few hours. Irish Water has been a disaster for the Government. Now what we are seeing is an attempt to criminalise protest. People should not be intimidated, the next major demonstration is scheduled for August 29 and I urge people to get out there.'
'23 Protesters could face jail time for delaying the Tanaiste for a couple of hours is highly disproportionate. The decision will only serve to bolster the anti Irish Water movement right across the country. If the Government think this is going to intimidate citizens they should think again!'
In an online response to the posting, Joe Ryan says, 'there is no such Department of Public Prosecutions in this state, Brendan Howlin does not have a niece called Elizabeth. This post by Deirdre is wrong and in fact and she (should) follow her own advice at the top of the post and think again and remove it.
'Prosecutions in this state are taken by an independent Office of Director of Public Prosecutions. Her name is Claire Loftus,' he said, 'I would urge Deirdre Wadding to take down this post.'