‘Disgraceful’ and ‘chilling’ protest outside Roderic O’Gorman’s home condemned

Group of protesters attach banners to railings outside Roderic O’Gorman’s home and call on him to ‘close the borders’

Coalition leaders and Opposition TDs have condemned an anti-immigration protest held outside the home of Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman on Thursday evening, describing it as “disgraceful” and “chilling”.

A group of masked men gathered outside the Green Party politician’s home in Dublin West and attached banners to a fence calling on him to “close the borders”. Video of the incident was posted online and showed a Garda presence near the Minister’s home at the time.

In a statement on Friday, Mr O’Gorman said he wanted to “thank local Gardaí in Blanchardstown for their assistance yesterday”.

“Ireland has a strong democratic tradition, where public representatives are accessible and accountable to the public. We debate and sometimes disagree, but do so in a way that is fundamentally respectful. I know that is valued by people across this country, and it is valued by politicians too,” he said.


“Threats and intimidation towards publicly elected representatives and those seeking election will undermine those essential qualities of Irish democracy. If we were to lose those, we would lose something very dear, and not easily recovered.”

Taoiseach Simon Harris described the incident as “chilling, disturbing, and quite frankly disgusting”. He said he spoke to Mr O’Gorman on Friday and expressed his horror. He said everybody has a right to protest in a democracy, but that did not extend to masked people gathering outside somebody’s family home.

“I feel deeply uncomfortable that this situation developed outside the home of any person, quite frankly, public figure or otherwise, Government or Opposition, and I hope in due course to have an opportunity to discuss this,” he said.

Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the episode was “shocking and disgraceful”.

“Where have we arrived where people with scarves over their faces are on our streets, draping horrific, horrible banners on someone’s home. That has to stop. I’d be interested to listen to [Garda Commissioner] Drew Harris, as to what can be done in that regard, because it’s not right,” he said on Friday.

“How can we live in a republic where someone’s home is under assault like that?”

In a statement posted on X, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said Mr O’Gorman’s privacy and property had been “violated in a disgusting and shocking manner” and that she had spoken to the Garda Commissioner about the incident.

An Garda Síochána said it was notified shortly after 8pm on Thursday about reports of a public gathering involving a small group of individuals outside a private residence in the Blanchardstown area.

It said a Garda presence was maintained at the scene until the group dispersed a short time later. No arrests were made. The force said it does not comment on the security arrangements of any individual or group, but “matters of security, including those that pertain to the safety, security, and welfare of public representatives, remain under continuous review”.

Mr Harris, who was attending a Fine Gael conference in Carlow, was asked whether gardaí could have intervened during the incident. He said he was reluctant to become involved in that discussion. He said gardaí were operating in very difficult and challenging environments and responded to dynamic situations in real time.

“My own experience as a former minister for justice is that the gardaí do take these matters very seriously. And there are clear laws on the books of this country in relation to what can and can’t happen in terms of what people call protest,” he said. “And again, I’m conscious that the gardaí may wish to look into matters that happened yesterday.”

He said the increase in the frequency of protests involving masked people was chilling in a democracy. “I don’t want to allow a group of people who gather in masks outside somebody’s home to suggest that this has become the new norm, or in any way speaks for the overwhelming majority of people.”

Labour justice spokesman Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the targeting of politicians in such ways needs to stop.

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said the scenes were alarming and it was “concerning that no apparent action was taken by gardaí to prevent the targeting of the minister’s home or to ensure that those engaged in this intimidation were either moved on or arrested”.

Sinn Féin justice spokesman Pa Daly also condemned the protest, saying it was unacceptable and that people needed to take a stand against such activity.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times