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SECURITY HEIGHTENED AMID FRESH DAIL DEATH THREATS

GARDAI are investigating two new death threats made against Environment Minister Alan Kelly and the Herald can reveal that his security has been dramatically stepped up.

Mr Kelly has been on the receiving end of four sinister threats to his life in less than three days.

Menacing calls were made to both his Dail and constituency offices yesterday.

A caller claimed that they would "shoot the minister in the head"

And they come after a hoax bomb alert at his Nenagh, Co Tipperary office on Monday.

Another caller the following day warned that "bullet would be put in his head".

A spokesperson for the minister said that all threats have been referred to the gardai. The spokesperson said that three of the threats were made to his constituency office in Nenagh, while a fourth was made to his Dail office yesterday.

The Labour TD's personal security detail has been reinforced while access to the Department of the Environment has also been tightened.

Public access to key department offices, particularly those adjacent to where Mr Kelly operates, has been restricted.

At the Custom House this has resulted in just one major door and gate being used.

The measures came as a private meeting between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Cork-based Fine Gael TDs and supporters was cancelled and then transferred to a new venue amid security fears.

The meeting, planned for the Rochestown Park Hotel tonight, was in advance of a high-profile visit by Mr Kenny to Cork tomorrow where he will attend multiple functions in the city centre, Blackpool and Douglas.

The anti-water charge protest group, We Won't Pay, has already vowed to mount major demonstrations at key events to be attended by Mr Kenny.

Security has been significantly tightened around all Cabinet members following controversial demonstrations at events attended by Mr Kenny in Sligo and by Tanaiste Joan Burton in Jobstown in Dublin.

Gardai removed a man from the bonnet of Mr Kenny's car at the Sligo protest while the Tanaiste was trapped for more than two hours in her vehicle and hit with a water balloon at the event in Jobstown on Saturday.

CANCELLED

Extra gardai are now being deployed in Cork for Mr Kenny's visit, though the Rochestown Park meeting was cancelled amid security concerns at the venue. The meeting will now go ahead at a different location.

FG TDs expressed concern over the impact demonstrations were having on routine Government business. Agriculture minister Simon Coveney said he believed Cork people only wanted to see peaceful, democratic protests.

"I believe the overwhelming majority of people do not want to witness these (other) kind of scenes on our streets," he said.

Cork has been one of the centres of anti-water charge demonstrations.

The anti-water charge incidents have occurred over recent weeks in Togher, Tivoli, Cobh and Rushbrooke.

hnews@herald.ie


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