Ireland is heading in 'the same direction' as the UK when it comes to the safety of politicians, an Independent Kerry Councillor has claimed.
Jackie Healy-Rae was responding to calls for a review of security arrangements around Leinster House after a protest on Wednesday.
Some 200 protesters held a demonstration bearing signs and banners featuring anti-immigration slogans.
Gallows featuring an effigy of a man hanging from a noose were also seen covered with images of high-profile TDs - including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae was surrounded by protesters as he left the building at one stage.
“Think about that young girl." A young intern in the Dáil was “shoved and pulled” by protestors and possibly had her phone stolen, according to Michael Healy Rae TD. @TheHardShoulder pic.twitter.com/8KZhKEImKW
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) September 21, 2023
His son, Councillor Jackie Healy-Rae, told Lunchtime Live he is glad Gardaí were there.
"Thank God the Gardaí were there yesterday, because if they weren't God only knows what would have happened," he said.
"I do feel that we're going down a very slippery slope in this country.
"Unfortunately, the way things are going, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that unfortunately we'll see a politician killed in this country because of the behaviour of what's going on.
"We saw it in the UK in 2016 with the MP Jo Cox... we're heading the same direction, unfortunately, in this country."
'Level of badness'
Cllr Healy-Rae said things seem to be getting worse.
"For us, myself and my four siblings, it's something that we've grown up with always," he said.
"It's something that we've always known, the whole world of politics, and the good and the bad that comes with that.
"The level of badness you could describe as getting a lot more deep and worse over the last number of years."
'Going about his daily work'
Cllr Healy-Rae said his father was just doing his job.
"My father - he's a father, he's a husband, he's a grandfather to four grandkids - he was going about his daily work," he said.
"He was doing a very ordinary thing yesterday; he had actually avoided the protests to get around to the IT department to get in, because there was a laptop that needed seeing to.
"We hadn't realised the door to that building was on lockdown as well, and that's how the whole thing came about."
Cllr Healy-Rae said his father was "more upset" about a new intern from the US who was "shoved, she was kicked, her phone was stolen".
"That was her first, maybe, 20 minute experience of politics in Ireland," he added.
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