Leinster House 'open day' cancelled due to Extinction Rebellion protests

Leinster House 'open day' cancelled due to Extinction Rebellion protests
Extinction Rebellion Ireland protesting outside Leinster House yesterday. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Additional reporting by Cate McCurry

Leinster House has scrapped plans for a public "open day" this weekend over fears staff could be put "at risk" from Extinction Rebellion protestors.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl confirmed the decision in a letter to Dáil and Seanad workers today, saying it is a direct result of the "serious incidents" affecting Government buildings in recent days.

Last night, 60 people were unable to leave Leinster House for a number of hours after Extinction Rebellion protestors blocked the driveways out of the building.

Similarly, today, protestors from the same group wearing boiler suits "wallpapered" the outside of the nearby Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment building with climate action scientific reports.

The situation has led to noticeably heightened security around Leinster House on Friday, with metal barriers and dozens of gardaí keeping watch outside the premises.

And, in a further sign of how serious officials are taking the incidents, in a letter to staff this afternoon Dáil the ceann comhairle said a public "open day" for the campus planned for this weekend has now been scrapped.

"We are bitterly disappointed to have to take this course of action. However, in light of the serious incident which occurred at the Merrion Street gates of Leinster House, we cannot take any further health and safety risks for the hundreds of guests who wished to attend and equally we cannot place our staff at risk.

"An open weekend will be rescheduled as soon as possible and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to see the restoration and conservation of their national parliament," Mr Ó Fearghaíl wrote.

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