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‘Macho tribalism seems to be the order of the day’, says Sinn Féin TD after threat to shoot garda made in call to his office

The Sinn Féin justice spokesperson said TDs’ homes should be off-limits to protests


Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny has spoken of the man who made a firearm threat against Gardai and Leinster House in a call to his Dáil office.

Mr Kenny, whose car was previously vandalised in an unprovoked attack, said it was legitimate to protest outside a constituency office or Leinster House, but not outside someone’s house.

“These people come with loudhailers, shouting and roaring and usually using very abusive language,” he said.

“We need to take measures to protect people’s place of refuge, which is heir home, and shouldn’t be open to someone to come and protest at.”

The Tánaiste, CMO Tony Holohan and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald have all had their homes picketed by mobs in recent times.

Mr Kenny said the call to his office, and the name of the person making it, had been reported to Gardaí and they were investigating “in case this is one of those wild and weird people who do something”.

He added: “It wasn’t a threat to me. It was made to a person in my office and was a general threat again the Gardaí and Leinster House.” He confirmed the threat involved a firearm.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD said people were allowed to be angry in their contacts with politicians, because they often had a legitimate grievance. They would even enter “robust discussion”.

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But he added: “As my mother said, people need to have manners when they’re doing it. But macho tribalism seems to be the order of the day.

“People seem to find each other on social media platforms and get into a frenzy abut things.” He blamed right-wing groups.

He said people were angry and frustrated because they could not get a SNA for their child or action on a health issue, but it sometimes descended into abuse.

As for picketing groups, “they carry tricolours and talk about patriotism, but that’s actually a cover” for right-wing extremism, he said.

“All they want to is to have a row and to make anger a virtue,” he said on NewsTalk. “We need to stand united against it.”

Third Level Minister Simon Harris tweeted his support for Mr Kenny, saying: “Despicable. Thoughts with Dail colleague & staff.”

He added however: “Online threats, abusive calls, gatherings outside homes, being followed on streets — all now happening regularly.

“We must be united against this. This is not a party political issue. It’s about democratic values and safety.”

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