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Sam Boal

McEntee speaks to Garda Commissioner about attack on councillor's family home

The rock was thrown through the front window of Independent councillor Hugh Lewis’ family home in Ballybrack.

JUSTICE MINISTER HELEN McEntee said she has spoken to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the attack on the family home of a councillor in which a rock was thrown through a window with a note telling him to “stop supporting” refugees. 

The rock was thrown through the front window of Independent councillor for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Hugh Lewis’ family home in Ballybrack at around 11.30pm on Monday. 

It reported that a note was wrapped around the rock, which read: “Hugh, stop supporting f**king refugees or you’ll have to move out. This is your last warning.” 

Lewis no longer lives at the property. His 78-year-old father Patrick Lewis lives there alone. 

Gardaí confirmed in a statement to The Journal that they are “investigating an incident of criminal damage that occurred at a residence in Ballybrack, Co Dublin at approximately 11.30pm on Monday”. 

“What happened was absolutely reprehensible,” McEntee told reporters today. 

“No individual, be it in political life or otherwise, should have something like that happen to them. I sincerely hope the councillor and his family are doing well, and I wish them well.

“I’ve spoken to the Garda Commissioner on this, but also about the number of incidents that have happened recently in the same area,” she said.

McEntee said that there will be a strong gardaí response to the incident, stating that they will be following every line of inquiry to make sure that there is accountability for those responsible. 

When asked how damaging such incidents are in attracting people into politics, particularly with the local elections due to take place next year, the minister said: 

“It does affect people’s’ decision to get into politics. There is no point in me saying that it doesn’t.”

However, she urged people to not let the actions of the small group of people whose sole ambition is to try to detract people from getting into politics, change their minds about getting involved. 

While she said new security arrangements were rolled out for Cabinet ministers following risk assessments, further work is needed to ascertain how widespread such threats are in all political life. 

Consequences for criminal damage caused

The minister also condemned protesters who caused criminal damage and destruction to traffic incident in Ballybrack village yesterday evening. 

When asked what she would like to say to those that attended the protest yesterday, she said: 

“You do not represent the vast majority of people in this country who are extremely welcoming, and want to welcome, be it individuals who are seeking international protection or those who are coming from Ukraine.

“So what I would say to those engaging in this behaviour is you do not represents the vast majority of the views in this country.”

McEntee said she would also like to remind people that there are “consequences to actions here”, adding that gardaí are following up on a number of inquiries. 

She said gardaí are responding to such incidents as quickly as possible, adding the gardaí “are very much on top of what is happening”.

When pushed on the issue about whether gardaí were acting appropriately to deal with such incidents, like that occurred in Ballybrack, the minister said: 

“I suppose they have to take a step by step approach but it is important that where there is violence and vandalism that gardaí respond in a strong and swift manner.”

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