Suggestions that anti-terrorism laws should be used to prevent further escalating protests in the Dáil are “laughable”, according to one political journalist.
The Irish Times reported this morning that Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is to ask An Garda Síochána to use anti-terrorism to prevent a repeat of this week’s far-right protest outside Leinster House.
Executive Editor at DMG Media and Political Journalist John Lee told The Anton Savage Show this suggestion is “laughable” an unnecessary to address violent protests.
“There is already legislation there to deal with public order,” he said.
“The rank-and-file have been so scared over the weeks of doing anything out of line for fear of facing internal or external disciplinary action, they won’t take that initiative.
“But Garda management is very simple... there were only about 300 whatever-they-are down there that day protest - you deploy a similar number of public order body-armored, equipped Gardaí, and the message is clear.
“You give the message, ‘You do what you do, but if you step out of line, this is what’s going to happen’.”
Gardaí said 13 people were arrested at the protest for public order incidents.
Mr Lee, who is married to Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, acknowledged he may have some emotional investment in increasing Garda presence at Leinster House – but said the rise in violent protests must be resolved.
“I’m working as a political journalist for 20 years now,” he said.
“There was a woman killed in Britain, Jo Cox, the Capital Building in the United States was attacked at the behest of the [former] President of the United States.
“I have people telling me that they're out there and they're scared to conduct clinics. They're afraid to go around their constituency.
“I spoke to a woman for instance, who’s a civil servant in Leinster House, and she wasn’t permitted to come in a particular entrance by the Gardaí and was forced to go back through crowds who were jostling her.
“What kind of country are we where an ordinary person going to do a day's work has to face this kind of stuff?”
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