Paul Murphy (Irish politician)

Paul Murphy (born 13 April 1983) is an Irish Solidarity–People Before Profit politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-West constituency since the 2014 Dublin South-West by-election.[1] He served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Dublin constituency from 2011 to 2014.[2] He was previously a member of the Socialist Party and Solidarity, but left in September 2019 to form a new party, RISE.[3][4]

Paul Murphy

Teachta Dála
Assumed office
October 2014
ConstituencyDublin South-West
Member of the European Parliament
In office
6 April 2011  24 May 2014
Personal details
Born (1983-04-13) 13 April 1983
Goatstown, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyRISE,
Solidarity–People Before Profit
Other political
Socialist Party (2001–2019)
Alma materUniversity College Dublin

Early life

Murphy grew up in Goatstown, a suburb of Dublin. He attended the fee-paying St. Kilian's German School in Clonskeagh and later the Institute Of Education on Leeson Street. His father Kieran Murphy was a senior manager at the Irish division of Mars. His uncle Michael Murphy was a journalist and broadcaster at RTÉ. His family is originally from Castlebar, County Mayo.[5][6] He studied for the Leaving Certificate at the Dublin Institute of Education, before going on to graduate from University College Dublin with a degree in Law in 2004. He joined the Socialist Party in 2001. In 2004 he ran, unsuccessfully, for President of the UCD Students' Union.[7] Murphy also worked in the European Parliament as a political advisor to the MEP Joe Higgins. A 2008 short film described him as a full-time activist for the Socialist Party. It followed his involvement in protests against cutbacks at Tallaght Hospital, during the Irish financial crisis.[8] He was also active in Free Education for Everyone, a group that campaigned against the reintroduction of fees for third-level education in Ireland.[9] In 2009, he worked on a PhD thesis titled Does socialist law exist?[10]

He was a member of the Socialist Party National Committee from 2001 and the National Executive Committee until 2010.[11]

European Parliament: 2011–2014

Murphy replaced Joe Higgins in the European Parliament after Higgins was elected to Dáil Éireann at the 2011 general election.[12] Murphy sat as a full member on the European Parliament Committee on International Trade and as a substitute on the Employment and Social Affairs and Petitions committees. He was also a full member of the South Asia delegation and a substitute on the Central Asia delegation.

In 2011, Murphy participated in Freedom Flotilla II, which attempted to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.[13] In August 2011, he visited the "No TAV" Italian campaign against the Turin–Lyon high-speed railway.[14] A supporter of the Shell to Sea campaign, in August 2011, he and others were forcibly removed from a protest by Gardaí. A complaint was submitted to the Garda Ombudsman alleging unreasonable use of force.[15] In early November 2011, Murphy was reported to be part of another Gaza flotilla described as a humanitarian mission.[16] Israeli forces boarded the ship on 4 November and imprisoned Murphy and all the other activists on board, with one of them saying this was carried out in a "violent and dangerous" manner.[17][18] Israel deported Murphy on 11 November.[19]

In 2012, Murphy set up the website for people wishing to share their experiences of the government's JobBridge scheme.[20] In June 2013, he travelled to Istanbul, Turkey, to speak with activists participating in the Gezi Park protests.[21]

Murphy stood for re-election at the 2014 European Parliament election, at which he lost his seat.[22] During the campaign he put his election posters on display before the official campaign start date, a move which risked fines of up to €150,000. He said "people wouldn't be bothered" and defended the move as a response to Fianna Fáil candidate Mary Fitzpatrick, who had also put up her posters early.[23] Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council and South Dublin County Council forced him to remove them.[24] During the campaign, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) upheld a complaint against the Irish state broadcaster RTÉ which excluded Murphy from a report on the findings of a Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll on a news programme which they aired on 3 May 2014.[25]

Dáil Éireann: 2014–present

Murphy was elected to Dáil Éireann for the Anti-Austerity Alliance, at the 2014 Dublin South-West by-election.[26]

As a TD for the Anti-Austerity Alliance and member of the Socialist Party, Murphy took a leading role in the We Won't Pay campaign, an anti-water charges organisation advocating non-payment. He spoke at many rallies and protests against both the charges and the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition government. His role during a protest against Tánaiste Joan Burton, in Jobstown, Dublin on 15 November 2014, brought criticism from some quarters after Burton's car was blocked, and she was unable to leave it for over two hours.[27][28][29][30] Afterward, Murphy distanced himself from the actions of some protesters but defended the right to peaceful protest.[31]

On 9 February 2015, he was arrested by Gardaí at his home, in relation to the Jobstown protest, and taken into custody along with three other anti-austerity activists.[32][33] He was released without charge that afternoon.[34]

On 12 August 2015, Paul Reynolds reported on RTÉ's Nine O'Clock News bulletin that Murphy and others would be charged and that trials would occur in the Circuit Court, where penalties are harsher, instead of the District Court.[35] On 15 September 2015, Murphy was served a summons by the Gardaí on charges of false imprisonment of Joan Burton and her assistant.[36] On 29 June 2017, Murphy and five other defendants, including Solidarity Councillors Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy, were found not guilty of all charges.

Murphy was re-elected to Dáil Éireann for the Dublin South-West constituency at the 2016 general election, as a member of the AAA–PBP grouping. He left the Socialist Party in September 2019, but did not leave the parliamentary group (known since 2017 as Solidarity–People Before Profit).

On 30 September 2019, Murphy announced a new political group called RISE (Radical Internationalist Socialist Environmentalist).[37]


  1. "Paul Murphy". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  2. "Paul Murphy". European Parliament. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  3. Lehane, Mícheál (26 September 2019). "Paul Murphy leaves Socialist Party to set up new group". RTÉ News. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  4. Finn, Christina (30 September 2019). "Paul Murphy unveils new political grouping called RISE". Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  5. "Pillars of Society: Paul Murphy" (PDF). The Phoenix. 1 June 2012. pp. pg17.
  6. "Interview with Paul Murphy". Village magazine. 11 October 2014.
  7. "To Fight Fees: Vote Paul Murphy No.1 for President". Socialist Party. February 2003. Archived from the original on 23 April 2003. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  8. Plunkett, Sean (14 June 2008). "Which Side Are You On?". YouTube. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  9. Cantwell, Simon (10 February 2009). "FEE express disappointment over portrayal in magazine". The University Observer. UCD. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  10. "PhD newsletter" (PDF). UCD Law faculty. 9 July 2009. p. 4. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  11. "European Parliament website". European Parliament. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  12. "Murphy to replace Higgins as MEP". The Irish Times. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  13. Duncan, Pamela (30 June 2011). "Irish ship will not sail to Gaza after 'sabotage'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  14. "Paul Murphy MEP on Italian news". TGR. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  15. Lally, Conor (2 September 2011). "MEP lodges complaint over Corrib protest with Garda ombudsman". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  16. "Irish aid ship bound for Gaza". RTÉ News. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  17. "Israeli navy boards Gaza-bound Irish ship". RTÉ News. 4 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  18. "Socialist MEP among Gaza peace activists kidnapped by IDF". The Socialist. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  19. "Israel to deport Irish MEP on Friday". RTÉ News. 9 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  20. "Paul Murphy MEP launches 'ScamBridge' website". RTÉ News. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  21. "Column: Solidarity is vital to show Turkish protesters the world is watching". 9 June 2013.
  22. "Paul Murphy". Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  23. Kelly, Fiach (23 April 2014). "Candidates face €150 fine for each poster put up early". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  24. O'Connell, Hugh (22 April 2014). "MEP who didn't think 'people would be bothered' forced to take down election posters". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  25. Barry, Aoife (22 May 2014). "BAI finds exclusion of candidates' poll results in RTÉ report "unfair"". Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  26. "Paul Murphy elected in Dublin South-West by-election". RTÉ News. 11 October 2014.
  27. "Minister, watch out, it's that smell again". Irish Independent. 16 August 2015.
  28. Duncan, Pamela (15 November 2014). "Tánaiste's car blocked by water charge protesters in Tallaght". The Irish Times.
  29. "Joan Burton trapped in car during ugly water protest". Irish Independent. 16 November 2014.
  30. "Dublin blockade leaves Joan Burton trapped in car for more than two hours". RTÉ News. 15 November 2014.
  31. Regan, Mary (17 November 2014). "Burton 'telling lies' on violence at protest". Irish Examiner.
  32. "Paul Murphy TD was aware arrests could be made after government statements – partner". Irish Independent. 9 February 2015.
  33. Minihan, Mary (9 February 2015). "Arrest of Paul Murphy and others described as 'way over the top'". The Irish Times.
  34. "Paul Murphy released after questioning over blockade of Tánaiste's car". The Irish Times. 9 February 2015.
  35. Iffy leaks
  36. "Paul Murphy has just been served with a summons for false imprisonment". 15 September 2015.
  37. "Paul Murphy launches socialist environmentalist grouping". RTE News. 30 September 2019.
Preceded by
Brian Hayes
(Fine Gael)
Teachta Dála for Dublin South-West
European Parliament
Preceded by
Joe Higgins
Member of the European Parliament for Dublin
Succeeded by
Lynn Boylan
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