Taoiseach says Government needs to review security of politicians: ‘I've had protests… and people shouting at me'

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The Taoiseach has said that the Government needs to review the security of politicians as he revealed that protests have taken place outside of his home.

Micheál Martin was speaking to reporters following the fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess while doing constituency work last Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Mr Martin said that people have “roared and screamed” at him while he was walking down the street.

He said that the Government needs to review the security of politicians and that intelligence is key.

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“I think we do need to review it in terms of what security is required.

“In all matters to do with security and policing, I think intelligence is the key ingredient, the key prevention factor.

“People keeping a very sharp eye… Gardaí are very well placed to do that and have an idea of what’s happening in different extreme groups”.

He added that nobody “wants an over the top security presence around the politicians”.

“I’ve had many protests,” Mr Martin continued. 

“I’ve never made a big deal about it, they’ve been protests, they haven’t been violent or anything like that.”

He said that he “makes the point” of walking streets in his constituency and that previously he was targeted by people “shouting and roaring”.

“I always make the point of walking my streets. There were times in my political life when I would have been… people would have encircled me and would have roared and screamed at me and shouting and roaring and phones up to your face and all the rest of it.

“I would keep going because I think it’s absolutely essential that we don’t lose the ground and we don’t lose the street as elected representatives,” he said.

He said that “extreme political groups” have an “agenda” to disrupt the “connection” that politicians have with the public and “turn people against them”.

“It’s part of our eco-system in politics to have clinics, to have that interaction with people on the ground, which I think is a very positive feature of Irish politics and we have to protect that,” Mr Martin said.

He said that online groups are forming which create “bile towards politicians and target politicians and others”.

“I think that is not acceptable either,” he added.

The Taoiseach spoke as protests have taken home at Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s home in Dublin recently, including one yesterday.

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