Green Party councillor attacked while hanging posters in Dublin

Janet Horner was putting up election posters on North Circular Road when attacked on same day as assault on Independent councillor and husband in Hartstown

A Green Party councillor has told of how she was hit and threatened while out canvassing and hanging posters in Dublin for the forthcoming local elections.

Janet Horner, a Green Party representative of the north inner city on Dublin City Council, said she was canvassing on the North Circular Road last week when she was approached by an irate man who threw her posters across the road and lunged at her when she tried to stop him.

“He was roaring, he was very confrontational. He was saying ‘We don’t want your Green Party s***e around here, Dublin 1 is for the far-right’,” said Ms Horner.

“He said ‘I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill you.’ At this stage it was dark and I don’t think he fully realised that he was talking to the person whose face was on the poster, but it may have dawned on him as he was shouting,” she told The Irish Times.


Ms Horner said she had been holding a ladder at this point, as a colleague was scaling it to attach a poster to the lamppost.

“He was in that state of mind, I knew he was willing to hurt us. He grabbed the poster then and threw it onto the road, and then someone he knew came along. I was too panicked to hear what they were saying to each other because in that moment I was terrified. I thought we were going to be outnumbered.”

She said she will continue to canvass as she believes it is important for politicians to continue knocking door-to-door in their communities, and she highlighted the abuse that some of her constituents from diverse backgrounds also receive.

Ms Horner made a statement to gardaí after the incident, and wrote to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee calling for a system of monitoring such attacks and for a point of contact with designated gardaí for elected representatives.

It comes amid a recent spate of attacks on councillors ahead of June’s local elections.

A Dublin councillor last weekend spoke about how she was punched in the head while her husband was beaten because she did not hold anti-immigration views.

Independent councillor Tania Doyle said she feared that she and her husband would be killed in the violent, unprovoked attack which took place in Hartstown, Dublin, on the same day Ms Horner was attacked.

On Wednesday, the Oireachtas launched a report by the taskforce on safety in political life, chaired by former Garda commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan. The report found that abuse in political life is prevalent and disproportionately targeted at women or minority groups.

It was accompanied by a study conducted by UCD which found that 94 per cent of TDs and Senators and 72 per cent of political staff had experienced some form of threat, harassment, abuse or violence.

Asked about participation by social media companies in the taskforce’s work, Ms O’Sullivan said it was “very regrettable” that the platform X, formerly Twitter, “was not in a position” to engage and that the company had said it was “unavailable” when contacted.

Asked whether there was a chance of an elected representative being attacked or killed in Ireland, as had taken place in the UK, Ms O’Sullivan said that “all of us collectively have to stand together and face down the threat and the risk”.

The taskforce’s report made a number of recommendations, including establishing an engagement forum with social media companies and gardaí and introducing a social media monitoring service for politicians and their staff. Ms O’Sullivan said “trusted flaggers” could monitor inflammatory content.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times