Saturday 23 March 2019

Protesters targeting Leo Varadkar’s home branded 'unfair' by minister

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Jody Corcoran and Alan O’Keeffe

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said it is "unfair" to target the private home of a public person, after a protest was staged close to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s home in Dublin last night.

Placard-carrying demonstrators arrived in darkness at the private apartment complex in Dublin 15 where the Taoiseach lives.

It is understood Mr Varadkar was not at home.

Around half a dozen protesters took part and two garda cars were sent to the scene. The group had ended their protest and had left the scene sometime before 10pm. The group posted a video clip on social media declaring they were holding a peaceful protest against homelessness.

It came hours after Health Minister Simon Harris spoke on radio about his home being targeted by protesters while his wife and daughter were present.

Last night Mr Flanagan told the Sunday Independent: "While the right to peaceful protest in a democratic society is acknowledged, the targeting of private homes of public persons is unfair.

"Assembling after dark at weekend nights at persons private homes has the capacity to be threatening and intimidating. Gardai are monitoring the situation."

Local residents who spoke of their dismay that strangers should come to their private residential complex at night time to protest outside a private home of a politician.

"I certainly don’t like the idea of people deciding to protest outside our homes at night-time — or at any time," said a 28-year-old man.

"If people want to protest, they should do out outside the Dail — not at people’s private homes."

A 23-year-old local woman added: "There are families with young children here. Protesting outside our homes at night is not welcome."

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