Vicious attack on Fingal councillor and Husband

by Rose Barrett
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Independent Councillor for Ongar, Tania Doyle, was left terrified and shocked after her husband was attacked last week, while out erecting election posters.

On Wednesday, May 8 last, Cllr Doyle alleges the attack occurred circa 1am, when she and her husband, along with a friend had been putting up posters.

“We had been canvassing all day, and we erected some posters in the area, to comply with the election guidelines which allowed postering after midnight on Wednesday 8.” 

“As guidelines dictate, I am not putting up posters within estates, I will be using the main roads only. We had stopped at the Hartstown Rd, past the Circle K. My husband who had been in Littlepace, came to join me to gather up ladders and the remainder of the posters.

“After meeting with some people we had canvassed earlier, we enjoyed a bit of pleasant banter. Then another two men came along, I didn’t know them, and they didn’t know me. I introduced myself and showed them my poster, one of them in his early 40s was quite agitated and complained about posters from another political party near his home. He didn’t want ANY postering in his estate,” he said.

She continued: “I very calmly said he needed to take that up with the political party in question, I was sticking to the rules, no postering in estates, main road only. Then he went on about immigration, demanded my views on immigration.”

Cllr Doyle said she felt his agitation and growing anger, and noted as she had been out all day, canvassing and working, she was exhausted and heading home. 

“But he was insistent, ‘I want your opinion. Have you participated in protests against immigration? I told him I believed in lawful, measured and appropriate immigration, with the background infrastructure to cope.”

But then Cllr Doyle claims the man began screaming at her, and clearly wasn’t happy with her response! He said then that Ireland was a Catholic country, and he didn’t want his country turning into another religious domain. 

“Very charitable for a practising Catholic who was verbally attacking two fellow Irish Catholics! He had issues with homosexuality, so I just wanted to end the conversation and get away. I tried to keep things calm; another man arrived who just stood and watched. I was anxious to get away and was very fearful – it was a horrible situation.”

Elected in 2019, Cllr Doyle told the Gazette she has never experienced this fear before. The man, she alleges, screamed: ‘You are part of the establishment! You are all the same!’ I tried to explain I am a county councillor and addressing local issues, I don’t legislate, I am dealing with the local and community issues but he was having none of it!”  

He then asked to see her election poster before he pulled out a mobile phone and said: ‘I’m going to film you – and destroy you!!’

“My husband, who is ex Defence Forces, walked in front of me, and said “My wife has just asked you not to film her, please put the phone away.”

She then claims the man punched her husband and a 15 minute attack began, with the councillor pleading with the man to stop.

“He punched and kicked my husband who has heart issues. I stepped in front of my husband, my friend and I kept pleading with the man to stop. My phone had fallen out of my pocket during the incident so I couldn’t call for help.”

After knocking her husband to the ground, she tried to shield her husband as best she could but as the man continued to rain blows on her husband, he struck Cllr Doyle to the side of her head.

“Together, my friend and I managed to get my husband up. The other man who had been watching the attack eventually came over and physically restrained the attacker who broke loose and began attacking us again. Again, the onlooker had to be restrained again. That gave us a minute to get away and up the road, where we hid behind a wall.” 

The attack left her husband’s face covered in blood and his spectacles smashed. After hiding behind the wall for four to five minutes, they got into the car and home which was only a short distance from their home. 

Not wishing to alarm their daughter, they cleaned off his bloodied face before calling Blanchardstown Garda Station.

“My husband was left battered and bruised as this assailant reigned blows on him, to his head and body. This was terrifying.”

Ms Doyle also reported that her posters were damaged and rendered unusable within a few hours of posting. The cable ties were cut and the poster damaged so it could not be re-used.

“I paid for every single poster from my own money and upcycled them from 2019. This vandalism to my posters occurred before the 2019 election; it didn’t stop me then and it won’t stop me now!

An investigation into the alleged attack is now underway.

Further postering damage in Fingal

Vandalism to election postering has been rife across Fingal and candidates both independent and from political parties have been experiencing this new level of illegal ‘protest’, writes Rose Barrett.

Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind for Ongar), Cllr Ian Carey (GP for Swords) and Cllr Darragh Butler (FF for Swords) are among those whose election posters have been either cut down and damaged, or set alight.

Cllr Carey said: “I’m very sorry to see this dangerous vandalism happening in our community. Someone, likely the person committing the act, could be seriously hurt by melting plastic. It could also damage the light fixture and cost the council a considerable amount to repair.

“If you see someone vandalising a poster, do not approach them. Contact the Gardaí immediately,” he warned.

“I’m not a fan of posters. We need to really limit their use and provide better, more sustainable ways, of getting the message across to voters. They do however let everyone know an election is happening and that is an invaluable thing in a democracy.”

He noted the Green Party got a motion passed at council to put the area forward to participate in a trial to better regulate poster use but unfortunately the proposals from the Department of Local Government have not come quickly enough for the local elections. He hoped a new approach would be in place before the next general election.

Cllr Darragh Butler (FF for Swords) stated:  “I was extremely disappointed to see election posters for various candidates including my own, were set alight and burnt along the far end of the Brackenstown Road, Swords, last weekend. 

“The most worrying part of this is the potential damage if these fires spread, or a person was injured. But also it is a total waste of time for Dublin Fire Brigade who have better things to be doing than responding to such unnecessary calls.”

Deputy Ruth Coppinger (TD for Dublin West) slated the physical and verbal attack on Cllr Tania Doyle and her husband earlier this week, along with noting that two women canvassing for the Social Democrats were similarly intimidated, and it seemed that racism and immigration were at the core of the intimidation.

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