Man arrested scaling railings of Leinster House in attempt to remove Palestinian flag

Eyewitnesses say the man was surrounded by gardaí and taken away

A man has been detained after scaling the railings of the Leinster House grounds in an alleged attempt to remove the Palestinian flag.

The incident happened shortly before 6pm on the Merrion Square side of the complex.

The man was spotted by gardaí and by Oireachtas security personnel scaling the fence and then trying to make his way across the Leinster House lawn to where the newly-installed flag is located.

The flag was hoisted on the lawn on Tuesday, alongside the Tricolour and the European Union flag. It was to mark the official recognition by Ireland of the State of Palestine.


Eyewitnesses said that the man was surrounded by gardaí and by Oireachtas security personnel. He was placed in handcuffs and taken away from the complex by gardaí.

When contacted, an Oireachtas spokeswoman said that its policy was never to comment on security matters.

The identity or nationality of the detained man is as yet unknown.

The Sinn Féin TD Martin Kenny arrived on the scene moments after the man had been detained. He said the man was standing in the centre of the lawn, near the flagpole, and was surrounded by a garda and several ushers from Leinster House. The man was carrying a walking stick.

Mr Kenny said his understanding was that the man had arrived at the Merrion Square gate of Leinster House earlier that afternoon and had attempted to enter by that gate. He told staff there he intended to remove the flag. He was not allowed gain entry and moved away.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD said that it seemed the man had gone into the grounds of the National Gallery adjacent to Leinster House and had scaled the railings separating both institutions. He had then made his way across the lawn to the flagpole before being apprehended by the garda.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times