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Gathering outside O’Gorman home ‘disgusting’

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said she has spoken to the Garda Commissioner over what she called a “disgusting” situation yesterday in which a group of protestors wearing masks gathered outside Minister Roderic O’Gorman’s home.

The group of protesters, some of them wearing masks and some carrying anti-migration placards, gathered outside the home of Mr O’Gorman last night for some time.

Gardaí have said they maintained a presence until the people dispersed and that no arrests were made.

In a statement on social media, Ms McEntee said Mr O’Gorman’s “privacy and property have been violated in a disgusting and shocking manner”.

“This cannot be tolerated,” she added.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has said he feels “deeply uncomfortable” that such a situation was allowed to develop outside somebody’s home.

Mr Harris described the incident as “extraordinarily chilling, disturbing and quite frankly disturbing” when speaking to the media in Co Carlow.

“I spoke to Minister O’Gorman about this situation this morning,” the Taoiseach said.

“I was utterly horrified to see this situation. We all recognise the right to protest in a democracy but when you see masked people gathering outside somebody’s family home, I think that’s extraordinarily chilling, disturbing and quite frankly disgusting,” he added.

Mr Harris said gardaí have to assess such situations, and so he as Taoiseach did not wish to interfere in that.

“However, I feel deeply uncomfortable that this situation was allowed to develop outside the home of any person, public figure or otherwise, government or opposition, and I hope in due course to have an opportunity to discuss this with the gardaí.”

He said it was “chilling” to see an increase in the presence of people gathering outside people’s family homes.

“I think it is worrying, I think it is concerning. Of course we see political debate and discourse but there is an appropriate way to debate and raise issues. We do it in the Dáil, in council chambers.”

There are plenty of areas to protest around Dáil Éireann or constituency offices, Mr Harris said, adding that he did not want to suggest that those people, while small in number, speak for Ireland.

“My experience as a public representative, at a whole variety of levels in this country, has been that the vast majority of people, agree or disagree with your politics, are decent people,” Mr Harris said.

Asked if he thought gardaí should be doing more to prevent such situations arising, he said he is always reluctant to “rush to blame the gardaí” in such cases.

“The gardaí operate in a very difficult and challenging environment and the gardaí respond to dynamic situations in real time. My own experience, both at a personal capacity and my experience as Taoiseach and a former minister for justice, is that the gardaí take these matters very seriously.”

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