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Fine Gael TD speaks to gardaí after woman alleges 'hit-and-run' at protest

Organisers of the protest deny intimidation outside the deputy’s home.

Last night's protest outside the deputy's home.
Last night's protest outside the deputy's home.
Image: Facebook/TomásAllenMeath1916Society

Updated 3.00 pm

ORGANISERS OF LAST night’s protest outside the home of a Meath Fine Gael TD say there was “no threat or intimidation” from their members.

Finbar Markey of The National Land League of Ireland say they decided to protest at Ray Butler’s home and office “in the ancient Irish tradition”.

Butler has spoken to gardaí about a subsequent incident at his constituency office in Trim in which where a female protester claims she was hit by his car.

The Fine Gael deputy says the incident followed a protest outside his home where about 20 to 30 people “wearing hoods” left his family shaken and upset.

Butler’s wife and two daughters were in his home when the protesters turned up outside his house but he was not. His third daughter then returned home from camogie training and began to cry when she saw the protesters outside her house.

Butler says his brother-in-law was in the house at the time when a woman called to the door and asked whether the deputy lived there.

The deputy says he was in his constituency office for a meeting at the time. The protesters subsequently moved he says and began ringing the door of the office.

When the meeting was finished Butler says he was leaving and was confronted by one of the protesters. The woman said that the deputy ‘knew who she was’, the deputy says he does not know the woman.

“She said to me, I’m from Kells,” Butler explained. “I told her I’m going to my wife and children who are traumatised.”

“I went to walk over to my car and they followed me. The lady tried to get into my car but the door was locked. I then went to reverse two feet and she jumped onto my car.”

Butler says there were two other party members there and the woman began shouting at them that it was a hit-and-run. Butler then proceeded to drive home.

Asked by TheJournal.ie whether he considered staying, Butler said responded, “there was no reason to, the car moved two feet.”

The deputy said he was later told that an ambulance was called to the scene. He was told second-hand that a paramedic had said the woman had a number of bruises.

Gardaí later called to the deputy’s home and Butler says he talked to them and they “took some notes” but it was not a formal statement.

He described the incident as, “like the Youtube thing in Cavan where a protester went to the ground after being touch by a garda.”

The deputy says that he’d “never seen the like”, referring to the protest outside his home. He said that, “I didn’t get into politics for this”, adding that “I have’t slept a wink since”.

The protesters say they were taking part in a “silent candlelit vigil” outside his home to “highlight the political policing and to show solidarity with the water meter protesters currently on hunger strike.”

Butler says he was told the protesters were from the ‘Land League’ with one Facebook post suggesting that the woman allegedly injured was facing eviction.

This afternoon, he National Land League of Ireland released a press statement saying that they decided to picket Butler’s home to protest agains home repossessions.

“Not only has Mr. Butler been central to this crisis, but is alongside his cohorts denying that the crisis is happening at all,” according to Markey.

“Our Meath members decided to, in the ancient Irish tradition, gather silently at Mr Butler’s home, a reminder of the many, many men, women and children due to lose their homes because of his and his cohorts decisions and lies.”

“Let us be clear, there was no violence perpetrated by our members at the home or office of Mr Butler, there was no threat or intimidation,” he added.

Read: Dublin anti-water charge rally hears two jailed protesters are on hunger strike >

Read: Wide condemnation of ‘midget parasite’ abuse of President Higgins >

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Rónán Duffy

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