Sunday 22 April 2018

James Reilly's car pelted with eggs and other missiles

Children's Minister James Reilly
Children's Minister James Reilly

Brian Hutton

Children's Minister James Reilly was forced to flee a community centre under garda protection after dozens of protesters surrounded his car and attacked it with missiles and eggs.

The minister was not in the car as it was targeted by upwards of 30 demonstrators during the incident at Bluebell in west Dublin, according to his spokesman.

Mr Reilly had arrived at the Bluebell Community Centre on Thursday evening for the launch of the National Youth Strategy and he walked inside without any incident. Unknown to him, however, protestors then gathered around his private car as his ministerial driver parked it a short distance away.

"Very quickly, people gathered around the car and the driver realised that a situation was developing. There was a period when the driver was not being facilitated in getting out of the car," said one source.

Gardaí who arrived advised the Fine Gael minister that if he returned to his car it could provoke an incident in which someone might get hurt, a ministerial spokesman said.

Mr Reilly was ushered to a rear door in the community centre and taken away in another car driven by a garda officer at around 5pm.

The crowd stayed on for several hours before gardaí drove the minister's own car to Kilmainham Garda Station, where it was kept overnight for examination before being returned to Mr Reilly's driver.

"It was pelted with eggs and other missiles," said a source.

"There is damage to the car, the extent of it remains to be seen, but there are certainly dents."

The minister's spokesman said Mr Reilly had been unaware of the protest until he was advised to leave through the back door and escorted away.

"Mr Reilly took the advice of An Garda Síochána that, in the interest of public safety, he would not return to his car," he said. "There was a concern that to do so could provoke an incident in which somebody might get hurt.

"Minister Reilly was driven safely away in another vehicle and did not himself see the protest."

Gardaí confirmed that they were investigating a public order incident at Bluebell.

"There was no one arrested and no one injured," a Garda spokesman said.

Security measures to protect the coalition Cabinet were reviewed after a series of demonstrations targeting ministers.

Irish Independent

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