People feel only response to rioters is ‘a good, honest, decent beating’, Fine Gael senator tells Seanad

Fears expressed in Seanad that members of the Oireachtas will be attacked by far right group

People feel that the only response to those involved in rioting last week is “a good, honest, decent beating”, a Fine Gael senator has said.

Seán Kyne told the Seanad on Wednesday that he was being “blunt” but added “that’s what people want to see”.

“The majority of people that I have spoken to from, around the country, who witnessed the scenes on our streets and on our televisions and our social media, they are fully in support of the gardaí and feel that the only response that people involved in this sort of criminality and rioting understand is a good, honest, decent beating and I will be blunt about it,” he said.

“You cannot probably say that, but I will be blunt, that’s what people want to see, that gardaí have the powers and know that they will be safe in using a baton to attack individuals who are involved in rioting and criminality.


“We can talk all we like about reasons, there is absolutely no excuse for what we saw and people deserve to know that the gardaí can use powers that they have to treat rioters and those involved in some incidents with force.”

Independent senator Tom Clonan said there were members of the Oireachtas who were prepared to engage in “dog whistle politics” to provoke hatred.

He said there needed to be a discussion in the Seanad about what was acceptable in terms of political discourse.

Mr Clonan added that far right groups saw politicians as the enemy and within such groups there was an extreme form of misogyny.

“They will target female TDs, senators and councillors,” he said. “I’m sorry to say, but I think it’s only a matter of time before a member of this House, but particularly a female member of this House, will be attacked.”

Fianna Fáil senator Mary Fitzpatrick said businesses in Dublin city had to invest in private security which was “a given” and the question now was whether schools had to also.

Independent senator Sharon Keogan referenced comments made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil on Tuesday, in which he said it was not right to connect crime with migration, which she said was “ridiculous”

“Not all immigrants are created equal and an immigration policy that does not recognise this will end in disaster and tragedy,” she said.

“We don’t record crime statistics by ethnicity, because to do so would offend liberal sensibilities but other European countries do.

“The Dutch do, they’ve done it for 10 years and here’s what they found - individuals from non-western immigration background make up 14 per cent of the population in the Netherlands. However, they commit 40 per cent of all crime and violent assaults.”

Ms Keogan added that “asking us not to connect crime to immigration is asking us to ignore reality” and that an asylum processing centre at Dublin Airport was needed.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said some of Ms Keogan’s comments were “dangerous” and that connecting migration and crime was not appropriate.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times