Harris slams protest outside his home

by Rebecca Ryan

Protesters outside the Health Minister’s family home over the weekend have been condemned for their actions.

Simon Harris, his wife and their three-week-old baby were trapped inside their home on Sunday afternoon in Greystones by a group of up to 20 people claiming their protest was against “corruption, austerity and evictions”.

Minister Harris has come under mounting pressure recently over the nurses and midwives’ strikes and the spiralling costs of the National Children’s Hospital.

Minister Harris said the protest was “very frightening” for his family.

“Obviously my number one priority is the safety and the wellbeing of my family. It was obviously a very frightening experience for them. Thankfully everyone is ok, but a little bit shook,” he told The Irish Independent.

Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group’, who started a #BringItToTheirDoors campaign, sparked condemnation across varies groups, politicians and the public.

In a statement, the group said: “Firstly, we attended his home yesterday in solidarity with all the families affected and left scared by Simon and his party on a daily basis.

“Whether it’s with the smear test scandal, patients left on trolleys or many of the other situations he and his party have put the people of Ireland through.

“Secondly, from the videos on our page, you can clearly see nobody was even inside his front garden, all protesters were standing outside on a public street step.

“We spoke with the Garda and they had no issues with what we were doing. His claims against us are completely false at no stage did we enter his property grounds or obstruct access to or from his home.”

Local councillor Lettie Mc Carthy (LAB) condemned the protest. “When someone puts themselves before the electorate in my opinion, this does not include their families and their neighbours.

“I can’t think of any neighbourhood or estate that would welcome a group of protesters with banners arriving on a Sunday afternoon where children are out playing.

“I would suggest a politicians constituency office would be a far more appropriate place for a protest but leave their families and neighbours in peace,” she told Dublin Gazette.

In a brief statement, the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation said: “The INMO and its members condemn in the strongest possible terms the protests today outside Minister Harris’ family home. The protests are completely inappropriate.”

Many have been condemning the protest online.

One wrote: “While I do agree that he should resign in no way do I condone going to intimidate his family at their home.

“His wife with a new born especially doesn’t need this and I do hope this type of ‘protest’ doesn’t become a trend.”

However, there was some who agreed with the protest, with one writing: “If he doesn’t want the public to hold him to account, he shouldn’t be in public office.

“Him and his friends’ actions affect people’s private lives every day so it’s about time they have their private lives affected.”

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