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Dublin: 1°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

Fine Gael TD: Pro-life protestors were banging on my home window

Dublin Mid-West TD Derek Keating said that he recognised some of the crowd and has passed their names onto Gardaí.

Derek Keating TD - File photo
Derek Keating TD - File photo
Image: Laura Hutton/Photcall Ireland

Updated 20:35

A FINE GAEL TD has been forced from his home after a group of pro-life protesters turned up outside his house and began chanting and banging on his door and windows.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning when “30-plus” protesters gathered outside the Dublin home of  Dublin Mid-West TD Derek Keating.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie earlier today, Keating described their actions as “very intimidating and threatening” and said that it was obvious the protest was planned because all of the protesters turned up at the same time. The deputy said that, although it was impossible to say if the protesters came from any particular group, he described their posters as “similar to the anti-abortion posters you see around”. He said:

When people appear like this it crosses the line. They were knocking on my door and started banging on my window. It really showed me the kind of people they are.

“There’s no doubt about it, their intention was  to intimidate,” he added.

Keating said that he not only felt worried for his own safety but that he felt upset for his neighbours who he felt would be equally intimidated. As a result he said that he felt that they were in breach of the peace and  it was necessary to call the Gardaí.  Although he said the Gardaí arrived promptly, the crowd, which was large enough to line both sides of the street, had dispersed before they arrived. Asked if he had considered confronting the protesters, Keating said that he didn’t feel it was wise:

No I didn’t. I felt in the circumstances that it might antagonise them further.

Perhaps even more shocking is that the TD  said he recognised some of those in the crowd from the local community and that some of them had in fact visited him in his constituency clinic to discuss the issue of abortion in the past. Keating said he passed the name of those he recognised onto the Gardaí.

As a result of what happened, the noticeably shaken deputy said that he felt it necessary to stay away from his home for a period of time. Keating, who was alone in the house at the time of the incident, said he didn’t know why he in particular was singled out. He did speculate however that he has been heavily involved with both the community and the church for over thirty years.

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Keating added that in all his years as a TD and councillor he has never had any problem meeting people to discuss issues of concern and that would speak to those involved in the protest again if they approached him through the appropriate channels.

First published 12:07

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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