Gardaí investigating Dáil protest

 

Gardaí are investigating a violent incident last night in which a number of people involved in a protest outside Leinster House attempted to gain access to the building.

At least five protesters received minor head injuries as a result of the clashes, according to organisers. One garda also sustained an injury to his face.

There were no arrests.

A Socialist Workers Party representative, Mary Smith said she received a blow to the head when she and others attempted to gain access to the front concourse of Leinster House through the gate.

“We tried to get into the Dáil to make our point as forcefully as we could,” she said.

“We all arrived at the gate at the same time. The police locked arms. There was a push. People behind me, I was kind of jammed there. The policeman in front of me looked me in the eye and reached over and deliberately hit me as hard as he could," she claimed.

She said she sustained a cut to the top of her head which was quite bloody.

A contingency security plan was put in place as soon as an attempt was made by a section of the crowd to storm the front gates. The gates were closed as was the front door to the Leinster House building.

Access to the building was strictly controlled.

Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit Alliance said he wanted the march to be the first step in a campaign against Government policies which he said had caused the economic crisis. Mr Boyd Barrett said it was unjust to put billions into bailing out the people and institutions which caused the crisis while imposing cuts on those who had no responsibility.

He described Government policy as as “the economics of the madhouse”.

Another demonstration is scheduled to take place next Tuesday evening. A Garda spokesman declined to say if security at Leinster House would be increased in advance.

"An Garda Síochána constantly monitor security arrangements at sites such as Leinster House. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further for operational reasons," he said.