Friday 23 March 2018

President 'parasite' protester 'not afraid of jail' as he says he's victim of 'media witch hunt'

Robin Schiller and Laura Larkin

The man who hurled abuse at President Michael D Higgins is continuing to claim he is a "parasite" but has apologised for calling him a "midget".

While water protester Derek Byrne was heavily involved in the mob that ambushed Mr Higgins in his car outside a north Dublin school, he claimed the Herald had "some neck" to ask him about his behaviour.

Speaking at his Donaghmede home yesterday, Mr Byrne claimed he was the victim of a "media witch hunt".

He was among a number of water protesters who were subject to a High Court injunction to prevent them from interfering with the installation of water meters.

Last night he vowed to continue his protests and said he would be willing to go to jail for it.

"I haven't stopped, why would I? I'm back in court next month and I'll more than likely be jailed but I'm not afraid of going to jail," he said.

"It's a civil case, I'm not a criminal.


Several politicians condemned the comments directed at Mr Higgins at the secondary school in Finglas last Thursday, with the Taoiseach labelling them as "deplorable".

However, Mr Byrne hit back at Mr Kenny's comments yesterday, saying it was "amazing" how the Taoiseach had anything to say on the matter.

"When he's asked a question by anybody he has nothing to say," he said on the 4FM Niall Boylan show

"It's amazing that Enda Kenny today has found his voice - the so-called leader of our country who is often left dumbstruck when he is asked questions."

He also said his comments came in the "heat of the moment" and criticised gardai for their handling of the protest.

Mr Byrne spoke out against media coverage of the water protest, saying only parts of the campaign were being covered.

Mr Byrne has continued to refer to the president as a parasite on his personal Facebook page.

In a lengthy post criticising people's response to the video of the abuse incident, he wrote: "Give it a break. Like all our politicians. He is another useless parasite."

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