Call for new laws as group that protested against Tánaiste house vows to target all politicians


THERE HAVE BEEN CALLS for action to tackle protests at the homes of politicians following recent protests outside the homes of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

A TD said the events were “intimidation” rather than legitimate protests and that either existing laws or new legislation were needed to prevent them from happening.

Anti-vaccination activists demonstrated outside Minister Donnelly’s home twice on September 10 and 12. The same group gathered outside the Tánaiste house in Dublin this weekend. Gardaí was present at both demonstrations.

Those who organized and attended the protests pledged to continue such protests every week and threatened to prevent politicians from leaving their homes.

During a demonstration earlier this month, one of the activists involved in the protests said: “Every politician receives a visit from us and our conditions are if you do not answer our questions that we ask you. today we want your resignation or you don’t leave your house, it’s simple ”.

He said this would happen “at least once a week” and that the high gardaí would also be targeted.

Social Democrats’ co-leader and justice spokesperson Catherine Murphy said the government should consider whether there is any legislation that can be applied to these incidents. If not, further measures should be considered to make private homes “off limits” for protests, she said.

“I believe in the power of protest and the right to demonstrate in a democracy,” she said. The newspaper. “But I think when someone’s family home is targeted and there are people living in that house who are not representatives of the public who are also targeted, that’s unacceptable. This is not a protest, this is intimidation and I think we have to separate these things.

While both protests focused on anti-vaccination messages, video footage of the protest outside Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s home also featured homophobic slurs.

The incident was widely criticized by the government and opposition parties.

Murphy said the problem is no different from calls for safe access zones at health facilities providing abortion services. The Minister of Health recently pledged to prioritize legislation on this issue to ban demonstrations in areas surrounding a health facility.

“This is something very different from what we are used to in terms of protests and it is really unfortunate that there are people here that cannot be appealed to,” said Murphy. “There are plenty of other opportunities to protest. “

Fine Gal adviser Danny Byrne also called for new legislation to deal with protests at the homes of public figures.

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“While people are signing up for politics, no one is signing up for this type of protest in their family home,” he said. “It is very unfair to the person himself, his partners and his family and even his neighbors.”

He added that these types of protests “seem to be getting more and more mean and vitriolic.”

“Some might cite our constitutional right to protest, but I’m sure this type of protest was never considered,” he said. “The law has to change to stop this. “

Sinn Féin justice spokesman Martin Kenny, who condemned the activists’ actions, said he believed “much of this anger is stoked by a small number of social media accounts.”

“The troublemakers behind these accounts create an atmosphere of fear and hatred and the end result is demonstrations at the homes of officials and politicians like those we have seen in recent weeks,” he said.

“Garda resources are also being diverted to monitor these protests due to the level of fear, intimidation and threat that some protesters use.

“People have the right to protest, but bringing this protest to the homes of private citizens is an affront to the democracy we have in Ireland. “

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