Friday 19 January 2018

Taoiseach Enda Kenny accuses anti water charge protesters of 'terrifying children'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Fine Gael's National Conference 2015 in the TF Royal Hotel Castlebar. Pic: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Fine Gael's National Conference 2015 in the TF Royal Hotel Castlebar. Pic: Mark Condren
John Downing

John Downing

THE Taoiseach today condemned anti-water charge protesters and accused them of “terrifying young families.”

Mr Kenny was speaking during angry Dail exchanges about the jailing of five anti water charge protesters following their breach of court injunctions.

Read more here: Fine Gael TD’s family ‘terrorised and intimidated’ by protesters at his home 

Anti Austerity Alliance TD, Ruth Coppinger, called on the Taoiseach to join efforts to have the five demonstrators released; to stop “criminalising protesters” and abolish water charges.

“Or, are you going to limp on and wait, along with the Labour Party, until you and the water charges are obliterated in the general election,”  the Dublin West TD told the Dail.

Read more here: Irish Water protesters end hunger strike action  

Mr Kenny hit back referring to the actions yesterday of demonstrators at the home of Meath West Fine Gael TD, Ray Butler, and another incident last week at the Dublin home of Transport Minister, Paschal Donohoe.

“You should go and speak to Deputy Butler today. Go and speak to him in respect of fear and intimidation and the frightening of young children – no more than the family of the Minister for Transport,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny insisted that the prosters involved were detained by the courts for breaking the law. The courts were independent and neither he, nor anyone else in the Dail, could tell them what to do.

“The  law of the land is the law of the land and the courts are independent of this House,” the Taoiseach added.

Ms Coppinger contrasted the plight of the anti-water charge demonstrators and the failure to jail bankers who ruined the Irish economy.  She said civil disobedience all across the history was necessary to forge social and political change.

Read more: Jailed water protesters can free themselves if they agree to court orders - judge

But the Taoiseach said people had the right to peaceful protest but nobody had the right to stop another citizen going about their legitimate business. “If you want political leadership then don’t attempt to be leading a  mob,” Mr Kenny said.

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