Protesters break through Garda lines at Labour conference




Hundreds of angry protesters stormed Garda barricades at a Labour Party conference today.

Crowds of placard-waving campaigners broke through security lines to picket the Bailey Allen building at NUI Galway, where the coalition party was holding its annual party meeting.

The protesters used a coffin draped in the Irish flag as a battering ram, chanting: “They say cut back, we say fight back.”

There were reports of gardaí using pepper spray to hold the crowd back.

One 13-year-old protester from Ballymun said he was threatened with the spray.

“I’m here because I want to fight for my future,” said the young protester. “I want to be able to go to college, but Eamon Gilmore won’t let that happen.”

Just hours before the protest outside the university grounds descended into chaos, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore sent a message to the protesters.

“[I would tell them] to have a nice day,” said Mr Gilmore.

The conference is continuing.

"If they disagree with us, that's their democratic right," said Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

"If they wish to protest, that's their democratic right, but they have no democratic right to basically stop another political party, committed to democracy, to go about its business.

"So I must say I think it's a great pity that they should have behaved in the way they have."

Related Articles

More in this Section

Gardaí seek help finding two missing men

North and South both opposed to 'hard border'

Man who admits Christmas Eve killing now lives with deceased's widow and child

Joe O'Reilly granted legal aid to pursue Supreme Court appeal


Today's Stories

Homeless families living in hotel in receivership offered 'suitable alternative accommodation'

Flat for troubled teen ‘scandalous’

Welfare official denies claim he asked for oral sex

Enda Kenny says no united Ireland vote in medium term ‘or perhaps ever’

Lifestyle

Why images of perfect post-baby bodies are not what new mums need

No matter what your age, here's how to dress to impress on holidays

'Mom hair' just another way of shaming women to be fixated with appearance

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years

More From The Irish Examiner