The intimidation and harassment of politicians by so-called protesters must be met with a robust policing response, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.

“The alarming scenes we witnessed last night outside the home of Minister Roderic O’Gorman must not be allowed to continue.

“It is concerning that no apparent action was taken by gardaí to prevent the targeting of the minister’s home or to ensure that those engaged in this intimidation were either moved on or arrested.

“It should also be noted that this is not the first time we have seen scenes like this. The home of People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy has been similarly targeted.

“To be clear, the intimidation and harassment of a public representative by a group of masked men is an affront to democracy and cannot go unchallenged.

“What we are witnessing is not protest. It is an attack on democratic values and a challenge to the rule of law.

“As a State, we must stand against this sort of threat and intimidation – and ensure that everyone in our society feels safe.

“All politicians, across the divide, must stand together on this issue and fight against those who seek to intimidate and spread division and hate.

“Some clarity must also, as a matter of urgency, be brought to bear on the policing response to this incident – and others like it.

“When incidents like this happen, there cannot be a ‘softly, softly’ police response. That approach is emboldening those who are targeting, not just ministers and TDs, but vulnerable migrants and minority communities.

“The Minister for Justice must now outline what the Garda Commissioner proposes to do to address this type of harassment and prevent it becoming more widespread.”

April 19, 2024

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