Last night’s skirmish at Leinster House
I had to laugh when I listened to Richard Boyd-Barrett on Morning Ireland when he tried to imply that the small group of protesters who tried to force their way into Leinster House’s plinth last night did so innocently.
Whatever their motives – and whether you feel they were right or wrong in doing so – they knew what they were doing.
My own personal view. They were wrong. Full stop. The Oireachtas is the location for our democratic institutions. Once you get a crowd attempting to occupy it, it constitutes an attack on our democratic institutions, mob rule replacing the rule of law and the principles of democracy.
No matter how angry you are about the cutbacks, there are limits to the protests. The small crowd who surged forward trying to force their way to the gate crossed a line that was physical and also metaphorical. They had no right to do that.
If you look at the clip above, you will see that there were seven or eight gardai on duty at the time that the crowd surged forward. They would have been unable to resist the crowd simply by locking arms, there were too many people trying to press forward.
I didn’t see the scuffles and am not in a position to judge whether there was excess on either side.
But the net point I’m making is faced with the sheer size of the crowd that was trying to force its way in and its surge - and entrusted with protecting our democratic institutions from incursions like that – the gardai had no choice but to draw their batons.
Richard Boyd-Barrett gave a great speech last night by the way. But he can’t be talking out of both sides of his mouth. Either can Sinn Fein. They have four TDs and one Senator within Leinster House. They either agree to uphold its institutions or they don’t. Simple as that. They can’t run with the hare and chase with the hounds.