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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Kenny accuses protesters of bullying and intimidation

Caroline Crawford and Elaine Keogh

Published 18/05/2012 | 05:00

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Gardai restrain protesters as Taoiseach Enda Kenny is driven away after he spoke on the fiscal treaty referendum at a breakfast briefing hosted by Galway Chamber and IBEC at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway.

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has accused some protesters of using "intimidation and bullying" tactics to stop people speaking to him during the referendum debate.

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Mr Kenny came under fire from protesters in Galway yesterday when anti-treaty campaigners heckled him and rushed his car.

Mr Kenny had been addressing a breakfast meeting at the Radisson Hotel in the city promoting the Yes vote.

A group of up to 15 protesters, many from the Occupy Galway movement, gathered outside and minor scuffles broke out between the group and gardai during the protest.

While most were kept away from Mr Kenny, one managed to rush the car, slamming his hand down on it as Mr Kenny was driven away.

One protester was escorted from the hotel during the fracas but no arrests were made.

Speaking later at the launch of 200 jobs with Merit Medical Systems in the city, Mr Kenny said some protesters were using intimidation and bullying tactics to prevent ordinary members of the public from speaking to him.

"Peaceful protest in this country is perfectly legitimate but I get people who want to speak to the Taoiseach as Taoiseach who have been prevented from doing so by intimidation and bullying and that's not something I can condone," he said.

Mr Kenny added that he was pleased that the final Occupy camp, Occupy Galway, had been demolished.

'Condone'

"I seem to recognise some of what I might call serial protesters around the country and, as I say, peaceful protest is perfectly legitimate so I don't condone the kind of activities that I see in some places."

Mr Kenny was at Merit Medical to announce 200 new jobs at the company's new facility at Parkmore and a further investment of €20m by the US multinational.

He added that each of the 200 jobs created would reduce the country's deficit by €20,000.

The jobs will be in research and development, operations support and manufacturing.

Over one-third of the jobs, which will be filled over the next five years, are graduate positions.

The company is engaged in the development, manufacture and distribution of disposable medical devices.

It currently employs 379 people.

Irish Independent

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