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Sinn Féin's Eoin O Broin Brian Lawless/PA Images
eviction ban

Sinn Féin’s Eoin O Broin ‘regrets’ tweet of gardaí edited into eviction scene

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors welcomed his clarification.

SINN FÉIN’S HOUSING spokesman Eoin O Broin has said he expressed remorse and regret to gardaí, after tweeting an image depicting Garda presence at a famine-era eviction.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, O Broin said he never intended to draw An Garda Síochána into a debate about housing policy.

He said he tweeted the image from the artist known as Spice Bag or Mála Spíosraí, after four weeks of debate over the ending of the temporary moratorium on no-fault evictions.

“My intention when I retweeted Spice Bag’s image was to put the focus on evictions and the Government’s decision, which is going to see, in my view, an increase in the rise of homelessness,” he said.

However, he said members of An Garda Síochána and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors “read the image differently”.

“When I’ve been speaking to guards, they were kind of saying that they felt that I was almost blaming them for the homeless crisis, that I was blaming them for evictions – of course that was never my intention,” he said.

Asked if he apologised to AGSI general secretary Antoinette Cunningham, O Broin said: “I clarified the remarks and I expressed regret.”

Asked if he expressed remorse, O Broin added: “Absolutely.”

He was not drawn on whether he specifically apologised or whether it was wrong to tweet the image.

“I made it very, very clear that not only did I not intend to, but I didn’t want to continue a row with An Garda Siochana that I never intended to put there in the first place.”

O Broin said he had spoken to gardai in his constituency about the matter.

“I have never been in the position of blaming An Garda Síochána for the housing or homelessness crisis created by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael.”

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