Gardai were called to scenes of chaos at Vincent Browne’s ‘People’s Debate’ held at Clontarf Castle in Dublin last night.
TV3’s Dublin Bay North debate was being pre-recorded for broadcast but became heated after several members of the audience began jeering Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Equality Minister Aodhan O Riordain.
Several witnesses said that the event turned even more heated when the issue of water charges was brought up.
As the debate continued, a female member of the audience stood up and claimed that she was being “intimidated” as a result of her decision to applaud remarks made by Mr O Riordain, a Labour Party TD.
The woman allegedly claimed that she was told she had been photographed and she felt her welfare was at risk.
Mr O Riordain tweeted later that the experience was “nasty”.
“Just out of Vincent Browne debate circus. Others can tell you what happened. Nasty stuff,” the Minister wrote.
Several sources present confirmed that the debate descended into chaotic scenes as TV3 production staff discussed how to proceed.
Separately, sources said that hotel staff called gardai, but the incident was described as minor and no arrests were made.
Vincent Browne told the audience that the gardai were being called, witnesses said.
Sources also claimed that a group of Labour supporters walked out during the event.
A TV3 spokeswoman declined to comment at the time of going to print.
The Vincent Browne debate is due to be aired next week.
Candidates who appeared during the debate last night included Jobs Minister Richard Bruton (inset), Equality Minister Aodhan O Riordain, Fianna Fail councillor Deirdre Heney and Independent TD Finian McGrath.