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Enda: The guards wanted to give me extra security, but I'm grand

The Taoiseach says he does not feel extra personal security is necessary.

The Taoiseach on his way into Government Buildings. He walks to work most mornings.
The Taoiseach on his way into Government Buildings. He walks to work most mornings.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

ENDA KENNY HAS turned down the opportunity to avail of extra security in the wake of the recent anti-water charges protests against ministers and the President.

In a rare appearance before an Oireachtas committee, the Taoiseach said he did not feel that extra personal security is necessary.

There have been concerns expressed about the security of senior political figures in the wake of the infamous protests in Jobstown last November where the Tánaiste was held in her car for over two hours and verbally abused.

In recent months there have also been protests outside some ministers’ homes and the President was recently subjected to abuse when leaving an event in north Dublin.

Kenny said that he was concerned at the “disgraceful behaviour” of some protesters who disrupted Michael D Higgins’s visit to Colaiste Eoin in Finglas last month.

“I consider that to be disgraceful behaviour and I admire the President for the courage and method in which he dealt with that,” he said.  

Kenny said that security was a matter for the President’s office to discuss with An Garda Síochána but said that he would assume that it would be provided if requested.

In relation to his own situation, Kenny told the Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming that he did not feel that extra security was necessary in his case, despite gardaí being “more than anxious” to provide it.

“I’m the kind of person who’s out and about a lot and similar facilities that have been provided over the years have not been provided in this case,” he said.

“I didn’t feel they were necessary and I don’t think they’re necessary now either.”

He said that extra security was available for him if required.

Kenny was appearing before the Oireachtas select-sub committee on the Department of the Taoiseach to discuss his department’s budget for 2015.

He said that the Department of the Taoiseach would be deploying increased resources to deal with the implications of the potential exit of Britain from the EU, but did not disclose specifics.

Ahead of the 1916 Rising commemorations, Kenny said the main centenary commemoration next year which will take place at the GPO on Easter Sunday, 27 March.

In addition, Kenny said his department held 58 Government meetings and 76 Cabinet Committee meetings in 2014.

It also produced 952 Government Memorandums, 20,000 pieces of correspondence, answered 805 parliamentary questions, and responded to 173 Freedom of Information requests.

Read: Why are so many gardaí showing up to make the ‘Jobstown’ arrests? And why so early?

Paul Murphy: It would have been peaceful to hold Joan Burton for 12 hours

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Hugh O'Connell

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