Online 'talk' among anti-eviction protesters about targeting the homes of ministers was assessed at the “highest levels” of the gardaí and deemed as lacking credibility, sources say.
There was even a suggestion within the social media posts of physically evicting those in the homes, recording the evictions and posting them online.
But Garda sources indicated that this was just a “minority view” among the protestors and that the overall discussion consisted of “talk” of picketing, but no actual plan.
It is understood that posts regarding one of the ministers were brought to the person’s attention and then raised through official channels with An Garda Síochána.
The posts were assessed at the “highest levels” with Security and Intelligence, with officers there checking the information and the persons concerned through their own sources.
One security source said: “There was talk among anti-eviction protestors about doing something. It was talk, but not treated as idle chatter. It was taken seriously, it had to be.”
The source said that when it was assessed there was “no concrete plan”.
The source said that while there were some posts regarding evicting people from the homes, this was a “minority” view and did not appear to represent the majority.
A second source said the incident emerged at the end of last week and appeared to centre around a particular minister. That matter was brought to the minister’s attention and subsequently reported to the gardaí.
The source said a number of issues got conflated and mixed up and that the “rumour machine” went into action. This source said that the rumour in relation to evicting a minister and whoever else was in the house, recording it and putting it online was assessed – but said gardaí were “not putting any credibility into it”.
It appears that private business interests of a minister also became mixed up in the posts circulated on social media.
Sources said issues concerning ministers come to the attention of gardaí frequently and are all assessed. If necessary, the minister’s office would be informed, along with the assessment of gardaí, and advice given.
Senior gardaí are mindful of recent evictions and protests around evictions and how certain individuals or groups could exploit heightened emotions.
When contacted, the Garda Press Office declined to comment on the incident or such security matters generally.
A Department of Justice spokesman said: “Arrangements may be put in place for the protection of office holders or other public figures and these are a matter for An Garda Síochána. For sound reasons of security and the safety of persons, it is not the practice to comment on the details of any individual case or the arrangements that may be in place in this regard.”