North Wexford Senator Malcolm Byrne reiterates call for Justice Minister to Proceed with Bill to Prevent Protests Outside Private Residences

Senator Malcolm Byrne has reiterated his call for the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, to proceed with his Protection of Private Residences (Against Targeted Picketing) Bill and to take a tougher line against extremist fringe groups who are engaging in intimidation and harassment under the guise of protest.
Minister McEntee will take the Committee Stage Debate of the Bill in the Seanad at 11:45am today.
Senator Byrne has strongly condemned protests that have taken place outside the homes of politicians recently, including outside an Taoiseach Simon Harris’s home, Minister Roderic O’Gorman’s home and his party colleague, Deputy James Lawless’ home.
Senator Byrne’s Bill was previously debated in the Seanad in January 2023 and Minister McEntee indicated support for the Bill in principle, but at the time asked for 12 months to consider the detail of the proposal.
The North Wexford based Senator welcomed the fact the Minister will take the Committee Stage Debate of the Bill today and reiterated his call for the Minister to proceed with the legislation.
Senator Byrne said: “I am a strong advocate of the right to peaceful protest. It is healthy in any democracy that we have protests and that there is a way for people to express their anger, their opposition or their support for particular measures.
“However, the behaviour of the extreme fringe groups that are ‘protesting’ outside politician’s houses is intimidatory and disgusting. These actions by thuggish groups are unfortunately becoming more and more common, and they seem to show no respect for the Gardaí.
“My Bill will strengthen the Gardaí’s hand and it will ensure that those who decide to take this kind of action will think twice before doing so.
“I would really prefer that this legislation were not necessary. I would really hope that most people in this country would have the cop on to know that one does not go to an individual’s private home to take up a grievance. Unfortunately, there is a very small minority that does.
“I am grateful that Minister McEntee has indicated support for the principle of the Bill and is taking the Committee Stage Debate of the Bill today. I look forward to debating the Bill further in detail so that we can get legislation and we can protect an individual’s right to privacy and freedom within his or her own home.”
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