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My fears when crowd turned nasty over 'Big Phil' lookalike

AN OAP who was rescued by gardai when anti-household charge protestors attacked a 'Big Phil' Hogan lookalike today told of his trauma.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor Donal Marren also came under attack from some of the anti-Household Charge campaigners.

Mr Marren and the 'Big Phil' lookalike had to be driven away in a garda car from outside the Fine Gael Ard Fheis for their own safety.

Cllr Donal Marren, told the Herald today that he feared he would be badly injured as he was pushed and abused on Saturday.

"There are a number of waivers available to homeowners and to be honest, the type of people I interacted with would definitely fall into that category.

"I had my glasses knocked off my head and I had all my notes scattered onto the ground. But I was not the only one. A number of female party members were verbally abused."

"There was a lot of pushing, a lot of jostling and some absolutely obscene language. I was assaulted as I entered the centre and at one point I was called a 'fascist'," he said.

"It was pretty scary but security and gardai moved in quite quickly to assist me."


Onlookers say a small number of demonstrators pushed and verbally abused Fine Gael members making their way into the annual party meeting. Fine Gael had braced itself for the protests to turn nasty and had a major security operation.

A party spokesperson confirmed today that several Fine Gael members were mishandled as they tried to enter the Convention Centre.

Pictures have surfaced of another Fine Gael member -- dubbed the Phil Hogan lookalike -- who was also abused by demonstrators.

The elderly man mistakenly became a target of the chant: 'shame on you Hogan' as he tried to leave the vicinity.

However, the man in question, who looked to be of similar age and build as the Environment Minister, is understood to have been a normal party delegate.