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Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A Labour senator thinks Ireland has become a lawless utopia in the past week

Lorraine Higgins is worried that water protests and other incidents will damage Ireland’s ability to attract foreign direct investment.

A LABOUR SENATOR has warned that Ireland’s image as a “lawless utopia” will damage its ability to attract foreign direct investment.

Lorraine Higgins cited several “disturbing” incidents linked to Irish Water and water charges that have taken place in the past nine days which she says have damaged the country’s reputation internationally.

Higgins referred to the controversial protest in Jobstown over a week ago, as well as the death threats to Environment Minster Alan Kelly, an Irish Water engineer having a gun pulled on him, Irish Water vans being burnt out and a man attempting to throw himself across the Taoiseach’s car in Sligo all in the last week.

“I have no doubt that the lawlessness shown this past week will affect our international standing as a country and will absolutely damage our ability to attract jobs to the country,” Higgins said this morning.

She told “It’s not acceptable. It’s giving the impression that the country can’t deal with these episodes of lawlessness. I understand people are hurting, but the way to show how they feel is through the democratic process and peaceful protest.”

While she did not suggest any link between the various incidents beyond the broader issue of water charges the Galway-based senator blamed “sophisticated anarchists who are not interested in seeing peace on the island”.

Higgins said that the reporting of the events of the past few days online will, in her view, damage the way potential international investors look at Ireland.

“I was browsing the internet over the weekend and all these issues registered on news websites. The Financial Times was reporting on it, that’s our target audience and they are speaking in a negative sense.”

She added: “Can you imagine CEOs of international companies looking to the possibility of Ireland as a place to do business?

“The last week has hardly been comforting and certainly would not convince them we would provide the right environment. The type of behaviour we have seen sends wrong messages the world over.”

Read: Cost of water meters underestimated by €107 million

Read: We’ll be aiming to collect “over 90%” of Irish Water charges – John Tierney

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