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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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'The temper of protest is changing' - Pat Rabbitte critical of 'thuggish' protesters

The former minister says such protesters are in the minority.

Image: Youtube/Edenmore Says No

FORMER MINISTER PAT Rabbitte has said that there is “no defending” the “thuggish” behaviour of some water charge protesters.

Rabittee told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that such behaviour is being carried out by a minority of people that hurt the their own cause.

“It is very easy to say what’s wrong, the more difficult part is to come up with solutions,” Rabbitte said.

“Yes the temper of protests is changing with a very small number of protesters acting thuggishly and that can’t be defended.”

When you look back at those great protests at the end of the 1970s about PAYE and taxation. Three-quarters of a million people on the street, I was one of them and I remember it well. There was none of the behaviour that has come to be associated with some of the conduct, and it’s a minority.

Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen said that the right to protest need to be respected but that there is “a minority element that is doing no good to the democratic system at all”.

“There needs to be a focus on policy, there has to be a focus on how recovery affects everyone in the State,” Cowen added. “These groups will have to assess and assimilate those policies and make a decision within the democratic system about who governs from here on out.”

PastedImage-98383 Source: RTÉ Screengrab

The Offaly TD said that his party opposed the set-up of Irish Water and still opposes it. Cowen said he his party would like a “slimmer, leaner version of Iirish Water, similar to the National Roads Authority for example.”

Thousands of people turned up at a further series of peaceful protest against water charges across the country yesterday.

Left alliance

Pat Rabbitte was also asked about a story in the Sunday Times which suggested that Sinn Féin is to meet with trade unions as part of a plan to create a left alternative ahead of the next election.

Rabbitte say that he would be in favour of such meetings if they taught Sinn Féin some “economic realities”.

Despite this, the former Labour and Democratic Left leader said that a potential “left Government has some way to go” because of fracturing he says was evident as part of opposition to water charges.

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

Read: Next mass ‘day of action’ on water charges will be in March (not April) >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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