Saturday 1 October 2016

Watch: Micheál Martin forced to abandon walkabout after anti-austerity protesters block car

Both Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny encounter protesters on campaign trail

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

Published 22/02/2016 | 12:08

Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Brendan Barron challenges Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin before it is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin was forced to abandon a walkabout in Crumlin village today after being confronted by a small group of anti-austerity charges protesters.

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Mr Martin was about to start a canvass with Cllr Catherine Ardagh when the group arrived at her constituency office chanting "banks got bailed out, we got sold out".

Mr Martin was quickly diverted into a car, along with Ms Ardagh but the protesters stood in front of and refused to move.

There were no gardai present but Mr Martin was flanked by around 10 Fianna Fáil canvassers.

He then left the car and attempted to walk down Crumlin's Main Street before going to a newsagents in an effort to evade the group.

However they continued chanting outside.

Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney

The Fianna Fáil leader accused one protester of "abusing" Ms Ardagh and tried to explain that his party's policy is to abolish water charges.

He also claimed they were being "undemocratic" by trying to prevent him walk the streets.

Brendan Barron challenges Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin before it is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Brendan Barron challenges Micheal Martin's tour of Crumlin before it is halted by anti austerity protesters this morning. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Eventually Mr Martin's car was driven a short distance away to another street and he moved at pace to get to it before the group but they again blocked the roadway.

Eventually after a short stand-off the protesters allowed the car to pass.

One protester, Brendan Barron, told Independent.ie: "I wanted to ask Catherine Ardagh why she has the lowest attendance record in Dublin City Council."

Meanwhile, a group of around a dozen water charge protesters greeted Taoiseach Enda Kenny at an event in Waterford with shouts of 'Kenny, Kenny, Kenny, out, out, out" 

The loud protest came as Mr Kenny arrived at the offices of Eistec.

There was scuffles as Gardai sheparded Mr Kenny's car through the small group of protesters.

As Mr Kenny went inside to speak at a Fine Gael event announcing the parts plan to grow jobs in the regions, they remained outside.

'Enda Kenny in his ivory tower, this is called people power," they chanted.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Martin said: “That happens. It’s an occupations hazard. The only comment I would make is people should have freedom of movement irrespective of who they are.

“We should be entitled to canvass.”

He said the protest was “deliberately orchestrated to prevent freedom of political action and freedom of canvassing”.

“I don’t think it’s particularly good in a democracy.”

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