independent

Sunday 24 March 2019

Harris protest was a counterproductive exercise

I think that most sensible people agree that turning up to protest outside Minister Simon Harris’ private residence was unacceptable
I think that most sensible people agree that turning up to protest outside Minister Simon Harris’ private residence was unacceptable

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Protesting in this country took a sinister turn on Sunday, when a self proclaimed anti-austerity group turned up at the home of Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The group outlined that it was taking a stand on working class families and that Simon Harris and his Government colleagues are 'waging war' on this section of society.

I think that most sensible people agree that turning up at a minister's private residence was unacceptable.

People indeed have the right to protest but in my opinion this group crossed a line.

They could have easily made their point at Minister Harris's constituency office or at Dáil Éireann but instead they chose to intimidate his family and neighbours.

The spectacle was completely counterproductive, as if they intended to shame or make an example of the minister, they failed and instead sparked nationwide empathy and pity for him and his family.

The fact that his wife and newborn child were in the house at the time, was a major contributing factor and surely anyone with a bit of decency can see how the location of this protest was completely unsuitable and ill-judged.

The menacing message of 'as long as you come to our homes, we will come to yours' is utterly ridiculous and simply served to portray the group as heavy handed thugs who are comfortable threatening elected representatives.

Simply because it was a 'peaceful demonstration' does not mean it is acceptable for a large group of people to pitch up beside a private home.

There are others living near Minister Harris and they have a right to security and safety in their home.

How were they to know for certain that the incident would remain peaceful and that they would be completely safe throughout?

The right to protest is a cornerstone of democracy and this group is entitled to make its views known if it wishes, yet the location of Sunday's event was poorly chosen and did them no favours with the general population.

Whatever your politics and views on austerity, the children's hospital, nurses strike or any other current national issue, nothing will be gained by such action.

In the end, their 'cause' was overshadowed by the tasteless manner in which they protested.

Enniscorthy Guardian

News