Protesters who targeted Varadkar’s home plan to focus on GPs next

Ministers and senior public health officials were recently given updated security advice

Members of the protest group, which calls itself We the Sovereign People, gathered at the front of Leo Varadkar’s home holding anti-vaccination placards and shouting at gardaí. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Members of the protest group, which calls itself We the Sovereign People, gathered at the front of Leo Varadkar’s home holding anti-vaccination placards and shouting at gardaí. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

Ministers and senior public health officials have recently been given updated security advice due to the potential threat from the anti-vaccination activists who protested outside the Tánaiste’s house last weekend.

Gardaí are aware of the group and their tactics of protesting outside the homes of public figures.

Gardaí have previously expressed concerns over how exposed Mr Varadkar’s recently purchased home in Dublin is from a security point of view, unlike his previous residence, which was located in a gated apartment block in Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Members of the protest group, which calls itself We the Sovereign People, gathered at the front of Mr Varadkar’s home holding anti-vaccination placards and shouting at gardaí. One of the group directed homophobic insults at the Tánaiste on a video stream.

The protest, which ended without incident after several hours, was widely condemned by politicians from most parties.

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Members of the same group gathered outside Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s house in rural Co Wicklow on two occasions a week previously, including late on the Friday night.

“Gardaí from Bray and Greystones Garda station attended at the scene of a demonstration on Sunday 12th September, 2021 at approximately 12.15pm,” a Garda spokeswoman. “This incident passed off without incident.”

Members of the We the Sovereign People group have pledged to further protests outside politicians’ homes. It is understood they are also planning protests outside local GPs’ offices over their role in encouraging patients to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The group contains a mixture of far-right, anti-vaccination and hardline Catholic activists, most of whom have been active in demonstrating against the Government’s efforts to control the pandemic over the last 19 months.

“This is the start of a people-powered movement. We’re going to start bring it to their doorsteps peacefully and lawfully,” one member told followers last week.

One of those present outside Mr Varadkar’s house was Andrew Heasman from Mayo, who received a two-month prison sentence last December for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask on a bus and breach of public order.

The group’s associates include Dee Wall, also known as Dolores Webster, a well-known far right activist who has previously been visited by gardaí over threats made to President Michael D Higgins. She was present outside Mr Donnelly’s house but was not seen outside Mr Varadkar’s home.