Tuesday 27 September 2016

Protesters obstruct car of former minister Alan Shatter outside Dail

Niall O'Connor and John Downing

Published 01/07/2015 | 17:19

Protesters remonstrating with Gardai out the Dail.
Pic Steve Humphreys
1st July 2015.
Protesters remonstrating with Gardai out the Dail. Pic Steve Humphreys 1st July 2015.
Gardai stand guard at the gates of the Dail closing them during protests. Pic Steve Humphreys 1st July 2015.
Protesters remonstrating with Gardai out the Dail. Pic Steve Humphreys 1st July 2015.
Protesters remonstrating with Gardai out the Dail which led to one man being arrested and taken away in a garda car. Pic Steve Humphreys 1st July 2015.
Former minister Alan Shatter

THE Garda Commissioner may be asked to appear in Leinster House tomorrow to examine the manner in which gardai are policing protests outside.

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There were tense scenes outside Leinster House at a combined demonstration against water charges and in solidarity with the Greek people.

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter was blocked in his car for up to 15 minutes on Wednesday as he tried to get into the Dáil. There was a standoff between some of the demonstrators and gardai who had called for reinforcements and some 40 officers were on duty.

Mr Shatter tonight claimed that TDs and senators were precluded from entering leaving Leinster House in their vehicles which is an infringement of their constitutional rights.

“I had abuse and insults hurled at me. My car was thumped and kicked by some protesters. It was a clear example of thuggery,” the Dublin South TD told independent.ie.

“To allow this sort out conduct and to regard is as acceptable is step on the road to fascism,” he added.

It’s emerged that the Committee for Procedure and Privileges (CPP) discussed the garda operation at a meeting this evening.

Sources say it was suggested that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan be asked to attend Leinster House tomorrow to monitor the situation.

Mr Shatter also asked the Ceann Comhairle to bring the issue to the Commissioner’s attention.

Sources say senior gardai previously attended a CPP meeting and assured members that there would be no situation whereby TDs and senators were prevented from leaving or entering Leinster House.

Mr Shatter was among a number of deputies or senators who could do so because of the protest this evening.

The organisers said the protest was a response to the Government rushing further water charges legislation through the Dáil this week. Environment Minister Alan Kelly has introduced a number of amendments to the Environment Miscellaneous Provisions Bill.

These include setting up a database for the water conservation grant and the blocking of a house sale until water charges are paid.  The law, which is now being finalised, will also oblige local authority tenants to pay their water charges.

Some 70pc of householders had registered with Irish Water by this week’s deadline and this allows them claim a €100 water conservation grant from the Social Protection Department. It is still not known how many people have paid their first water bills.

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