Thursday 18 December 2014

Masked protesters picket Taoiseach's house

Eoghan MacConnell and Tom Shiel

Published 17/06/2013 | 05:00

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (right) runs the gauntlet of pro-life protesters in Ballinalee, Co Longford
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (right) runs the gauntlet of pro-life protesters in Ballinalee, Co Longford

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny's home was picketed last night by protesters – some wearing skeleton masks and white shawls.

About 15 protesters picketed the Taoiseach's home in Castlebar, Co Mayo, for the first time.

Mr Kenny was not in the house at Hawthorn Avenue, Milebush, outside the town at the time, but his wife Fionnuala and eldest son Ferdia were there.

Gardai were called and the protesters dispersed without incident.

It is understood a number of the group approached the house and rang the doorbell. The door was answered by Ferdia. The incident occurred at about 7pm.

This is the first time that Mr Kenny's private residence has been targeted by any protest group.

Garda security has been stepped up at the Taoiseach's home and constituency office ahead of the proposed legislation on abortion.

Castlebar gardai are investigating a recent threat to the life of Mr. Kenny on a Facebook page campaigning for the retention of local hospital services.

HECKLING

The incident at the Taoiseach's home followed around 200 pro-life protesters jeering and heckling Mr Kenny as he unveiled a statue of War of Independence hero and former government minister General Sean MacEoin.

Having verbally abused the Taoiseach when he arrived at Ballinalee, the pro-life demonstrators chanted, "keep your promise" during Mr Kenny's 10-minute speech.

"Right of legitimate protest in our country, of course, is a right that is available to everybody, and we respect that that should be a peaceful right at all times," Mr Kenny told the protesters.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warned pro-life supporters against the use of "intemperate language and gestures" in the abortion debate.

Dr Martin said that while the Church must "unhesitatingly" present its teaching "with clarity and vigour", it must do so in a way which reflects the caring message of Jesus.

His comments follow Taoiseach Enda Kenny's revelation last week in the Dáil that he had been sent plastic foetuses and letters inscribed in blood.

Irish Independent

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