The trial of Solidarity TD Paul Murphy and six others who are accused of the false imprisonment of former tánaiste Joan Burton is under way at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The seven men are also accused of falsely imprisoning Ms Burton’s adviser Karen O'Connell during a water charges protest in Jobstown in Dublin in November 2014.

Mr Murphy, along with Dublin councillors Kieran Mahon and Michael Murphy, and the four other men deny the charges.

In his opening statement prosecuting counsel Sean Gillane said  the offence of false imprisonment was not to be confused with kidnapping - the taking and carrying away of a person. He said that was not what was involved here.

He told the court the charge involved the restriction on a person's liberty or freedom to go where they please, saying someone could be imprisoned in a car or on the street.

Mr Gillane added that it was not time dependent, but did not involve a minor obstruction.

A question of motivation might also arise, and in relation to that motivation if it arises from a political cause or grievance, no matter how genuinely held, it is it does not confer immunity on anyone from the operation of the criminal law.

He stated everyone was entitled to political views or opinions on issues of the day and no one was going to say otherwise.

In addition to that "entitlement to political views or opinions, there is an entitlement to express those views," he said.

He also said that "an opinion or view does not become elevated or worthy of protection by virtue of the number of people who share it or the volume at which you express it or because it is shared by people of power or in power or if expressed by people in protest.

It matters not if it is shared by media, is part of a consensus or is an outlier."

Mr Gillane told the jurors they must leave prejudice or sympathy outside the room and use dispassion, coolness and level headedness to assess the evidence before them.

He said they were chosen to ensure there was a cross-section of the community judging the facts and the evidence in the case.

Mr Gillane said on 15 November 2014, the then tánaiste, Joan Burton, was attending a graduation ceremony at the An Cosán centre, which provided education services for the local community in Jobstown.

At the time, he said the issue of water charges was the subject of much political debate and controversy.

Mr Gillane said around 60 students were graduating and Ms Burton was invited to address them at the ceremony in the nearby church. A number of people protesting about water charges had gathered nearby.

As Ms Burton walked towards the church, he said a fair amount of shouting commenced and a degree of invective was hurled in her direction. Water balloons and eggs were also hurled towards Ms Burton and her adviser, Karen O'Connell.

The jury was told the mood of hostility deepened while the women were in the church.  Gardaí decided to make arrangements to allow them to leave by a side entrance and go to an unmarked garda car. But Mr Gillane said the car was immediately surrounded. 

 There was a lot of shouting and roaring, items were thrown towards the car  and a number of people sat down in front of it. He said Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell were trapped inside for around an hour and every request to ask people to leave was ignored.

The women were then transferred to a garda jeep by gardaí forming a human cordon around them.  That jeep was surrounded for another two hours, the jury was told.

Mr Gillane told the jurors Solidarity TD Paul Murphy addressed a large number of people present and asked "will we let her go" if gardaí withdrew the Public Order Unit. 

He said they would also hear evidence about Paul Murphy's conversations with members of An Garda Síochána.

The jury heard that the women eventually ran from the jeep to two separate garda vehicles as people chased them.

Mr Gillane said the prosecution case was that each of the accused along with others were responsible for surrounding the vehicles and were plainly involved in restricting the liberty of both Ms Burton and Ms O'Connell in circumstances not justified by law.

The first witness will be Ms Burton, who is due to begin her evidence tomorrow morning.

The jury were sent home for the day. Judge Melanie Greally asked them not to discuss the case with anyone and not to conduct their own research on the case or anyone involved in it.

The defendants in the trial are Mr Murphy, 33, from Kingswood Heights in Tallaght; Mr Murphy, 53, from Whitechurch Way in Ballyboden in Dublin; Mr Mahon, 39, from Bolbrook Grove in Tallaght; 34-year-old Scott Masterson, from Carrigmore Drive in Tallaght; Frank Donaghy, 71, from Alpine Rise in Tallaght; 46-year-old Michael Banks from Brookview Green in Tallaght and 50-year-old Ken Purcell from Kiltalown Green also in Tallaght.

The final juror was selected this morning after one member of the jury was discharged yesterday.

The trial is expected to last at least six weeks.