Monday 20 November 2017

Fine Gael TD’s family ‘terrorised and intimidated’ by protesters at his home

Up to 30 protesters gathered outside home

Ray Butler, Fine Gael TD for Meath West. Photo: Tom Burke
Ray Butler, Fine Gael TD for Meath West. Photo: Tom Burke

A Fine Gael TD has described how a group of up to 30 protesters gathered outside his home and terrorised his young family.

Ray Butler was attending a constituency branch meeting at his office in Trim, Co Meath, when the group of anti-water charges, anti-eviction and free-the five protesters targeted his home.

Two young children were inside the house at the time.

Later, eight members of the group arrived at Mr Butler’s office with coat hoods covering their faces, he said.

“At around 8.30pm my wife’s brother and my son said a large group of 20 to 30 people had gathered outside my house,” Mr Butler told RTE's Morning Ireland.

“Andrew [a family member] went out and said this is not a place for protesting... there are two little girls in there.”

“They started shouting and filming. My daughter came home from training, she got onto the camogie panel last week. She got out of the car and she got all panicky.”

“Andrew went around to her and said ‘come on Chloe, you’re coming in with me’.”

“They still were adamant... they stayed for at least an hour... It was dark, it was wet, it was so intimidating.”

A group of eight protesters made their way to Mr Burke’s constituency office in Trim.

“Eight arrived at my constituency office. They kept ringing the door and wouldn’t leave us.”

Mr Butler said he told the protesters: “I’m going home to my wife and kids that you’re after traumatising [with] all that carry on.”

“I got into the car and locked the door. They pushed Noel French out of the way.”

Then he said a female protester “jumped on top of the car. I could actually see what she did and then she said ‘oh, he hit me, he hit me'.”

“John Tobin said ‘okay’ go on [home]... the car was stopped when she did this and I could actually see what she did. She jumped on top of the car.”

The protest group told RTE’s Morning Ireland it was anti-eviction, anti-water charges, and free-the-five protest.

A spokesman said they chose to protest outside the TD’s home because he had voted for the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform act, and a female protester had been evicted from her home.

He claimed that one of the protesters had been struck by Ray Butler’s car and that she was beside the car when the incident happened. He said the protester had been treated at Navan Hospital.

Gardai have said they are investigating a non-serious road traffic collision.

Mr Butler added: “The intimidation for the whole night... Chloe was crying and in an awful state.”

“It just beggars belief that it has come to this. We didn’t sleep great last night.”

Dr. Finbar Markey, General Secretary of the National Land League of Ireland, released a statement in response to Mr Butler’s interview this morning.

He said a decision was taken at a Meath branch meeting of the National Land League of Ireland to stage a peaceful protest.

“Let us be clear, there was no violence perpetrated by our members at the home or office of Mr Butler, there was no threat or intimidation.”

Online Editors

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