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Sunday 19 November 2017

Protester arrested after Hogan's car damaged

Tom Brady and Mark O'Regan

A MAN in his 20s was arrested by gardai after a window in Environment Minister Phil Hogan's car was smashed by a protester.

The car was taking Mr Hogan from the rear entrance of the Athlone Town Centre shopping centre in Co Westmeath at around 3.15pm when the front window was smashed.

Mr Hogan, right, was in Athlone to launch the Pathways to Learning project at the Aidan Heavey library in the centre.

Up to 20 anti-austerity protesters, mainly from a political group called 'The People's Voice', gathered at the front entrance of the Athlone Town Centre when Mr Hogan arrived to attend the function yesterday.

However, as he left the car park at around 3.15pm, a large group of people surrounded his car and began rocking the vehicle, shouted obscenities and banged repeatedly on the roof.

Protesters claimed the car rolled over the man's foot, causing him to lash out and hit the windscreen on the passenger side.

"I've been talking to the driver and the man was standing in front of the car so there's no suggestion it went over his foot," a spokesperson for Mr Hogan said.

"We refute that the car went over his foot. We've had demonstrations before but never rocking the car and banging on the roof."

John McNamara, from the 'The People's Voice', called the situation "ridiculous" and said that it would be bringing the incident to the attention of the Garda Ombudsman.

Irish Independent

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