Water Protest

Two arrested over protest that trapped Joan Burton in her car for hours

Protesters surrounded the Tánaiste’s car chanting “peaceful protest” as she attempted to leave a graduation ceremony in Jobstown.

Updated at 8.30pm

TÁNAISTE AND MINSTER for Social Protection Joan Burton was trapped in her car for almost three hours this afternoon.

Anti-water charge protesters targeted the Labour leader at around 1pm as she attempted to leave a graduation ceremony at An Cosán — a higher education college.

Dozens of local gardaí and the Public Order Unit attended the scene.

Photos and video footage placed online by local protest groups showed a large group of people surrounding the car.

Banging loudly on the vehicle, they chanted “shame on you” and “peaceful protest”.

Scuffles also broke out between protesters and gardaí, who tried to escort the car away from the building.

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The Tánaiste was switched to a garda vehicle as she eventually made her exit, following negotiations between protesters and officers.

It sped her from the scene shortly before 4pm.

“This is a day that’s meant for the students,” a spokesperson for Burton said, declining to give any other details of the incident.

Gardaí confirmed this evening that there had been two arrests — one for a public order offence and another for damage to a patrol car.

Labour TDs and Senators have been critical of the demonstration’s organisers, with Communications Minister Alex White saying tonight that the action was fundamentally undemocratic.

Newly elected anti-austerity alliance TD Paul Murphy, who took part in the action, insisted it had been peaceful, and had come to a peaceful resolution.

Additional reporting by Daragh Brophy.

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