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Video: Howlin angrily pushes camera away as he is confronted over bank inquiry

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was confronted by protesters outside the Department of Finance earlier today.

YouTube: Dublin SAYSNO

MINISTER FOR PUBLIC Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin angrily pushed away a camera as he was confronted by protesters asking about the investigation into the banking crisis earlier today.

A video, released by members of two groups, Rage Against the Regime (RAR) and Dublin Says No, shows Howlin being pursued by a number of people as he walked out of the Department of Finance and walked up Merrion Street at around lunchtime today.

As the cameraman gets in front of him, Howlin is recorded grabbing the camera and pushing it away, at which point the cameraman shouts: “Don’t you grab my hand. If you grab me again… ”

Howlin then says directly to the camera: “Will you please go away”, before walking back towards the Department of Finance, accompanied by an aide.

The protesters continued to  pursue him and ask him why there have been no prosecutions relating to the collapse of the banking system. One of the men, Vincent Salafia, asks him about the statute of limitations on fraud.

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Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening, Salafia insisted that he spoke to Howlin in a “very calm and non-harassing way”, adding: “He has asked me who I was, I said I was an Irish citizen and asked him questions and he kept walking back to his office.”

Another member of the group, Paul Madden, said that the Minister was not willing to talk to them at all before he pushed the camera away.

He said: “He [Howlin] asked us to go away politely, but we weren’t having any of that. It was very brief and it didn’t escalate into anything else”.

Madden said he has concerns about the leak of the Anglo Tapes to the Irish Independent which he claimed meant that the garda investigation into the collapse of the bank is at an end.

He said his group is trying to put forward concerns that a bank inquiry will be used for political gain by the government. The protesters submitted a number of Freedom of Information requests in person at the Department today.

“Ministers are quite happy to stand up in the Dáil and make statements in that environment,” Madden said. “But when confronted with ordinary citizens they clam-up. We will persist… every citizen has the right to ask a question.”

A spokesperson for the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform was aware of the incident when contacted this evening but the Minister’s own spokesperson did not return a request for comment at the time of publication.

Anglo Tapes: Were AIB ‘lending money to every cowboy in town’?

Read: “I knew they were bad, bad bad” – David Drumm apologises for language on Anglo tapes

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Hugh O'Connell

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