herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Tanaiste condemns Dail protest as TDs prepare to quiz Garda Commissioner over resources

Gardai struggle with protesters outside the Dail
Gardai struggle with protesters outside the Dail
water

GARDA Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan will today be quizzed over the policing arrangements put in place to deal with Wednesday's unruly demonstration outside Dail Eireann.

Ms O'Sullivan will be asked to explain the decision by gardai to allow hundreds of protesters to block the front gates of Leinster House during an anti-water charge demonstration.

Members of the Dail's Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP) are expected to ask Ms O'Sullivan about the level of garda resources available to deal with the protest.

Amid chaotic scenes on Wednesday evening, a female garda officer was knocked unconscious after being hit with a traffic cone.

Two Labour Party senators, Mary Moran and Denis Landy, were forced to evacuate their cars after they were blocked from driving up Kildare Street by protesters.

READ MORE: We made arrest, say gardai after Shatter claims they stood by

Another Oireachtas member, Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter, was forced to wait in his car for 15 minutes because the main Leinster House gate was blocked.

Other Oireachtas members, from both Government and Opposition sides, were harassed and taunted as they tried to enter or leave the premises. A sit-in protest on Kildare Street also brought traffic disruption.

READ MORE: Senators forced to abandon vehicles during Dail protests

The events caused alarm among the Oireachtas authorities, and senior garda management was informed of the concern.

Tanaiste Joan Burton criticised the behaviour of some demonstrators and condemned the actions that led to the injury of the officer.

intimidating

"The right to peaceful protest is essential to democracy, but when a garda is injured, nobody can seriously call that a peaceful protest," the Labour Party leader told the Herald.

"The conduct of those who threw items and engaged in intimidating conduct last night - towards both members of the force and members of the parliament - should be condemned by any right-minded person, including any politicians who helped organise the protest."

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