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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Taoiseach has no plans to beef up security for ministers after protests at their homes

Leo Varadkar says he has not added any extra security after protests at his home.

Protests have been held outside the homes of Leo Varadkar, Simon Harris, Richard Bruton and Paul Kehoe in recent weeks.
Protests have been held outside the homes of Leo Varadkar, Simon Harris, Richard Bruton and Paul Kehoe in recent weeks.
Image: Niall Carson

THE TAOISEACH HAS said no extra security detail has been added after a series of protests at his home in recent weeks. 

In an interview with this week, the Taoiseach said:

“I haven’t added any extra security. It is the Garda Commissioner that makes those calls.”

He added that he is not proposing any changes to security operations. 

Two protests have taken place outside the apartment complex where Leo Varadkar lives in Castleknock. On one of the occasions, the Taoiseach was abroad, attending the EU-Arab League summit. 

Concerns about Cabinet members’ security was first raised after a group of protesters gathered outside Health Minister Simon Harris’ home in Co Wicklow.

Harris, his wife Caoimhe and newborn daughter Saoirse were inside the house in Greystones at the time.

The protesters, from Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group, Wicklow Says No and the Anti-Eviction Flying Column, left the scene peacefully after gardaí arrived. 

Since then, protests have also taken place outside Communications Minister Richard Bruton’s home, as well as the home of Junior Minister Paul Kehoe

It was reported that a review of Cabinet members’ security was to take place after the protests. 

No changes to security 

However, Varadkar told that he will not be proposing any changes to security operations. 

“I have security as Taoiseach, as does the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice. But the vast majority of ministers don’t have security – that was taken away during the financial crisis to save money. We are not proposing to change that,” he said.

“My general view for protests outside anyone’s home is that they are inappropriate,” he said, adding that they are “inappropriate”. 

“For me it is really that my neighbours shouldn’t have to be disturbed,” he said, adding that it is not fair on politicians’ friends and family to be bothered by such protests. 

Speaking about his own neighbours, he said “it is not their fault I live in the same apartment block as them, and I regret any inconvenience caused to the people who live in the same apartment complex as me”.

In his view, the numbers that protest outside politicians’ homes are small, and they should not be given any attention, by the media or others. 

“They are probably getting more attention than they should,” he concluded. 

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