Rabbitte shrugs off pub confrontation - says protesters missed opportunity
Group surround Rabbitte after holding protest outside Leinster House
Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte was beset by a group of more than 40 splinter republican and left-wing supporters tonight as he tried to enjoy a pint in Doheny and Nesbitt’s pub in Merrion Row, not far from the Dáil. in Dublin city centre.
Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has shrugged off an incident in which he was confronted by a group of more than 40 splinter republican and left-wing supporters as he tried to enjoy a pint in Doheny and Nesbitt’s pub in Merrion Row, not far from the Dáil.
Mr Rabbitte is a regular customer of the bar which is synonymous with politicians and economists. He went there last night after work with his special adviser Simon Nugent and two colleagues from the Labour Party.
The Minister brushed off the protest by “an uninvited greeting party”, noting it was the “wrong place, wrong time”.
Video of Rabbitte being confronted by protesters
“It’s not the kind of accompaniment you’d search out. These guys are pretty professional at what they do - not much I could do about it,” he told RTE Radio.
Mr Rabbitte also noted that the protesters had missed an opportunity while confronting him.
He told RTE’s Pat Kenny programme that “the funny thing was that he missed the real focus of his protest - the troika were upstairs,” he said. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin was also in the pub at a function for officials from the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund when the incident occurred. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan joined the event later.
A senior Labour staff member who witnessed the incident last night described it as “outrageous” and “disgraceful” saying it was “co-ordinated intimidation of a public figure quietly enjoying a drink on a summer’s evening with his colleagues”.
A video has been posted on Youtube of the incident in which an estimated 40 protesters from left-wing and republican splinter groups surround and shout at the Minister.
The video was uploaded onto the site by an anonymous poster called ‘slanabhaileeachtrann’ and is approximately five minutes long.
Mr Rabbitte, with a pint of Guinness beside him on the counter, sits passively throughout and does not respond as the protesters chant and shout at him.
For part of the video he studies his phone. Mr Nugent and a Labour colleague are seen trying to stand between the protesters and the Minister.
The video does not show any physical contact and there is no evidence that any of the protesters went within a metre of him.
At the start the protesters shouted “Run Rabbitte Run” while two of them can be heard to shout “scumbag”. The chant then changes to “traitor”.
A voice is then heard saying “You cannot do that here. This is private property.”