Coveney hits out at Varadkar protestors but outlines difficulties of stopping them
“Families and children and partners of politicians and public figures are not fair game for aggressive lobbying.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has hit out at the people who protested outside the home of Leo Varadkar, however, he also outlined the difficulties of stopping them.
Coveney told The Irish Times on Thursday that the families, children and partners of politicians and public figures should not be "fair game for aggressive lobbying."
He said that the protests may have crossed a line into "intimidation at a person’s home", adding that he would like to see people use "common decency" and protest outside offices or the Dáil instead of "trying to impact on a person’s private life."
However, he said he is not sure if it's possible to enforce legislation to prevent further protests at politicians homes.
"Protests on the street is a public place. If that happens to be close to a person’s home, then I think it’s very difficult to legislate to prevent that," he told the publication.
Members of Government moved to condemn a "vile", "homophobic" and "sickening" protest that took place outside the home of the Tánaiste and his partner Matt Barrett on Sunday, 19 September.
Gardaí were alerted to a number of protestors outside a residence in Dublin 8 at approximately 1pm on Sunday, a Garda spokesperson confirmed to JOE, adding that Gardaí attended and the protest ended without incident.
Video circulated online of the incident, viewed by JOE, contained the use of homophobic and racist language, while at least one banner appeared to carry an anti-vaccine message.
The protest drew a strong reaction from TDs, including opposition leader Mary Lou McDonald, who called for those involved to be investigated and prosecuted.
"The homophobic, bigoted intimidation witnessed at the home of Leo Varadkar is outrageous and shameful," McDonald wrote on Twitter on Sunday night.
Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris, meanwhile, called out the incident in particularly strong terms, describing it as "sickening, repulsive, disgusting behaviour".
"It has no place in a democracy, must be condemned by all and called out for what it is. Efforts to dehumanise politicians contributes to this. Vile on so many levels," he said.