"I can say - if that's his idea of a peaceful protest, I would not like that norm being set as the way people in Ireland protest," said Burton

Tanaiste Joan Burton has blamed Paul Murphy for the water charges protest in Tallaght in which she was hit with a water balloon in Jobstown.

"I can say — if that’s his idea of a peaceful protest I would not like to see that norm being set for Ireland by him as the way people in Ireland protest,” she said.

Burton was subsequently trapped in her car for four hours as protesters blocked the street.

TD Paul Murphy was also stripped by Gardai  yesteday during an altercation at the water charges protest in Tallaght.

The incident was recorded on a mobile phone at the Jobstown protest on Saturday and Murphy appears to be refusing to leave the crowd as Gardaí pulled him from the ground, taking his jumper off.

Protesting residents are heard chanting, "Shame, shame, shame on you," to Gardaí.

Murphy, who represents Tallaght as a member of the Anti-Austerity Alliance held a conference in the Maldron Hotel on Thursday urging residents to refuse payment.

Murphy criticised Sinn Fein's road-to-Damascus moment regarding water charges at a rally in the Maldron hotel on Thursday: "I think it's because they're under pressure from people and they're thinking about the elections.

"They have to be very worried about what happened here in the by-elections. They expected, and were expected to win easily. They were beaten because their position on water charges."

Murphy explained the AAA's views on Sinn Fein: "Fundamentally we think they're going down the road of Labour. The leadership does want to go into power, will go into coalition and will be willing to compromise on important things in order to get there."

Murphy told attendees at the conference to hold organised, non-violent protests within their estates:

 "We know now in Belgard, in Kingswood, and in Kilnamanagh that notices have come saying that water meters are going to come in the next couple of weeks.

"We need to get people out in large numbers to stop them in peaceful, but effective ways. If people don't want water meters then they're not going to have them forced upon them."

Residents at the meeting voiced their concerns over the treatment of protesters in various areas. Damien O'Neill from Edenmore spoke alongside Murphy to speak about how he tried to bypass the 20-meter exclusion zone in Newgrove Avenue:

"The Guards arrested me. They just take you down, take your name and address...then they let me go. Everyone has to stay together."

Photo: Aura McMenamin