We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File photo of Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte. A bag o Sasko Lazarov
anne rabbitte

'Here is some s**t for you': Man refuses to apologise for incident where bag was 'thrown' at Govt TDs

It comes after Minister of State Anne Rabbitte and Fine Gael TD Ciarán Cannon had cow dung thrown at them during a public meeting this week.

THE MAN WHO allegedly threw a bag of excrement at Junior Minister Anne Rabbitte and TD Ciarán Cannon has refused to apologise.

On Wednesday, Anne Rabbitte, the Minister of State for Disability, posted on social media that she and Cannon were attending a public meeting in their constituency in Gort, Co Galway when the incident happened.

The meeting was held by Gort BioGas Concern Group, who have labelled the incident as “wholly unacceptable”, adding that it did not reflect the views.

In a statement to The Journal, the group said: “The meeting was an opportunity for all local residents and groups to voice their concerns about the recent decision of An Bord Pleanála to allow the development of a gas production facility adjoining the centre of the town in the face of fierce public opposition.

“Despite the valuable and forthright exchange of views on the evening, the group is aware that a member of the public reportedly caused a projectile to be launched at public representatives in attendance.

“Gort BioGas Concern Group condemns in the strongest possible terms such an act.”

The group added that it was grateful for the attendance of Rabbitte and Cannon, and Independent TD Sean Canney, to “hear the views of the local community on this extremely important issue”.

Speaking to Liveline on RTÉ this afternoon, Joseph Baldwin – the man who claims to have thrown the excrement - said he came up with the idea on the evening of the meeting.

He described the bags as “two, small, little bags” that were zip-sealed and held “dry manure”.

Baldwin told RTÉ: “I just basically tossed it (towards Cannon). I turned around, I went back up, and I turned a bag towards Anne Rabbitte.”

When pressed on whether he threw a bag at Rabbitte, Baldwin replied: “To be honest, I wouldn’t be 100%.”

Baldwin then said: “I went out to Ciarán Cannon first and I said, ‘if you are going to bring shit into this town, here is some shit for you.’”

He also accused the media of “blowing this out of proportion” and claimed it was clear that it was cow dung, as opposed to human excrement.

Baldwin also claimed that “every one” of his neighbours were “100% behind” him.

When asked if he would like to apologise for the incident, Baldwin said: “I didn’t set out to intimidate anyone.

“But the stance I took, I am not going to apologise for it until they apologise for not providing a proper service as politicians to our area.”

He added that he would not be offering any other comments to the media.

In a statement to RTÉ, Minister of State Anne Rabbitte also said she would not be issuing any further comments and that she is liaising with gardaí.

‘Attack on our democracy’

The incident in Galway is being investigated by An Garda Siochana and has been roundly criticised.

Gardaí are to also make themselves available to members of the Oireachtas to offer security advice.

Speaking in the wake of the incident, Justice Minister Simon Harris said an attack on public representatives is “an attack on our democracy” and that such incidents will be “pursued with the full rigor of the law”.

Harris was speaking after Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he was taking any attacks on a public representative “extraordinarily seriously”.

Speaking outside Government Buildings today, Justice Minister Harris said that “ensuring that public representatives can go about their business on behalf of their constituents in a free and safe way is absolutely essential”.

“One of the great strengths of the political system in this country has always been accessibility to public representatives.

“I’m very satisfied, from my conversation with the Commissioner, that he takes these matters extraordinarily seriously,” he said, adding that any such case “will be pursued with the full rigor of the law”.

“[The Commissioner] and his team have made themselves available to the houses of the Oireachtas to provide advice to any member of the Oireachtas in relation to their own security situation or any concerns that they may have.

“And he will be reiterating today to Garda divisions the importance of that, should a member of the Oireachtas approach gardai for any advice.”

Harris added: “Any assault or attack on anybody in this country is utterly unacceptable and, without commenting on any individual case, that has to be the starting premise for any discussion.

“Of course, any attack on a public representative is not just an attack on an individual, but is also an attack on our democracy, an attack on people going about serving their constituents.

“It’s very important for every member of the Oireachtas to know that if they have any concerns in relation to their own security or safety or that of their staff or family, that local gardai are in a position to provide advice and support and I would really reiterate that point today.”

“It’s also very important for people to know that any such incident, that any attack, that any assault, will be treated extraordinarily seriously by An Garda Siochana.

“The Commissioner, in his conversation with me this morning, was extremely adamant in relation to that.

“It is a core part of democracy, of a free society, that people can move around safely, that people can do their work safely, that people can live their lives safely, that people can feel safe as they go about their job.

“And of course, when the person doing that job is a public representative, it’s not just an attack on them but is an attack on democracy.”

- With additional reporting from Press Association

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel