Protesters gather outside Simon Harris’s home again

Gardaí investigate demonstration by group calling him ‘one of Ireland’s biggest embarrassments’

Members of a group that calls itself the Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group were monitored outside the house by gardaí before dispersing. Photograph: Facebook

Members of a group that calls itself the Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group were monitored outside the house by gardaí before dispersing. Photograph: Facebook

 

Protesters gathered outside the home of Minister for Health Simon Harris for a number of hours in Greystones, Co Wicklow, on Sunday.

Members of a group that calls itself the Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group were monitored outside the house by gardaí before dispersing.

In reply to queries, Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, said enquiries into the gathering, which sought to highlight an eclectic mix of issues, were being carried out.

“Gardaí attended the scene of a protest outside a house in Greystones today Sunday, April 28th, at approximately 1pm,” the Garda said. “Protesters have left the scene peacefully and enquiries will be carried out.”

Last weekend, Mr Harris criticised marches with paramilitary trappings that took place over Easter in Dublin and Cork. He questioned why the events, featuring groups linked to dissident terrorists, were permitted.

After setting up their modest protest, featuring eight people at its height, on Sunday the protesters suggested they were present because of the comments last week by Mr Harris.

“Simon slatted [sic] people who commemorated our fallen hero’s [sic] but Simon needs to know he would never be commemorated in this country as he’s one of Ireland’s biggest embarrassments,” they said in one of a number of online comments.

Later in the afternoon, the protest switched to a range of other issues. Among these was the cost of the new national children’s hospital, “people dying and been [sic] left on trolleys” and delays in children receiving medical care and waiting lists for women under the CervicalCheck scheme.

The same group then visited what they said was the home of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive and chairman Seán Fitzpatrick, reading a statement bemoaning the fact he had “never apologised”.

A similar, though larger, protest took place at the home of Mr Harris earlier in the year and in February he said that gathering was “a violation”.

He believed those involved had used his wife and young baby to identify which house was his.

“This wasn’t a protest. It was a clear attempt to intimidate my family and my neighbours,” he said at the time. “It felt like a violation. It was a violation.”

He pointed out that while those outside his home were carrying signs claiming to be protesting on behalf of victims of the CervicalCheck scandal, campaigner Vicky Phelan was sending him “supportive texts”.