Last night.

At the Clayton Hotel in Cork city.

Fine Gael adjourned a public meeting it was holding about directly elected mayors in Cork, Limerick and Waterford for 15 minutes before resuming.

This was due to members of the Connolly Movement Branch protesting at the meeting.

Their protest began with a member calling for a minute’s silence for two homeless men who died in Cork recently.

The action follows the most recent figures from the Department of Housing showing that 10,305 people accessed emergency accommodation in the final week of March.

Homeless charities have put the true homeless figure at 15,000 while Fr Peter McVerry told the Women in Media conference in Ballybunion, Co Kerry last weekend that he believes 500,000 people in Ireland are in a “housing situation causing them serious distress” while 40,000 mortgages are in arrears.

Jennifer Bray, in The Irish Times, who was at last night’s meeting in Cork, reported that, after it resumed, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told those present:

“I think no matter what political party you come from or what your political views, we should all be committed to democracy and freedom of speech and trying to shout other people down and trying to shut down their meetings is profoundly anti-democratic.”

“It goes against the basic principle of free speech and is untrue to what happened in 1916 when people fought for our freedom and independence and it is untrue to all of the efforts of our founding fathers. We are a democracy and that allows people to speak freely.”


Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, of The Irish Examiner, reports:

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Cabinet will undoubtedly have expected some soft focus PR during their trip to Cork City, with political strategists eyeing up the chance to win over some badly needed rural support when the visit plans were first unveiled.

“But, despite their best intentions, the day-long journey to the rebel county has if anything provided ministers with a short, sharp slap in the face reality check of the problems facing the coalition as they bid to keep voter support in place nationwide in the weeks – and months – to come.”

Varadkar calls protesters who halted Fine Gael meeting ‘anti-democratic’ (Jennifery Bray, The Irish Times)

Taoiseach brands Cork protest ‘profoundly undemocratic’ (Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, The Irish Examiner)

Previously: ‘A Time To Be Disruptive’

Pic: Jennifer Bray

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25 thoughts on “Shout Out

  1. Birdie

    I really hope they get a right lashing at the upcoming elections. Them and FF.

    Would be great if Soc Dem and other left leaning parties start gaining on this fecks that are destroying the country through promoting elitism.

  2. Mickey Twopints

    Would one of the grownups working in Leinster House ever give Our Dear Leader a quiet tap on the shoulder and explain what free speech actually means?

      1. Mickey Twopints

        It means everything to me, Andrew. Absolutely everything· More than you’ll ever know.

        1. Andrew

          Yes, I’m sure it does, but what is your definition of free speech Micke?? Do you place any constraints on it? Do you agree with people being shouted down or de-platformed and prevented from speaking?

    1. Rob_G

      Free speech means being able to express yourself without the secret police coming and kicking down your door. It doesn’t mean that you can go into a meeting, disrupt the agenda, and force people to listen to you.

        1. Rob_G

          By coming into their meeting and disrupting it.

          I am allowed hold and express my opinions if I like; I can’t come into your living room and force you to listen to a lecture on market reforms. Free speech doesn’t extend to that.

          1. Mickey Twopints

            It wasn’t in anyone’s front room, though, was it? It was a public meeting, Bobby. Do you know what a public meeting is?

          2. Rob_G

            I do, do you?

            The meeting was organised by a private organisation, in private property. Anyone attending this meeting was doing do so with the consent of the meeting’s organisers; either the meeting’s organisers, or the venue hosting the event, can ask anyone to leave if they wish.

          3. Mickey Twopints

            Stay with me, Bobby. I realise that this is difficult for you, going on your past performance, but stay with me here.

            A political party booked a hotel venue for a public meeting, to which the public were invited. Some members of the public who accepted the invitation went off script, and introduced some views of their own. They subsequently left the meeting, leaving the organisers undoubtedly embarassed, while possibly having had their lives enhanced by the exposure to views different to the ones they currently hold. Armed police were present, and they felt no need to intervene at any point, so we can take it that no violence or intimidation was evident.

            How, in any way shape or form, does any of that equate to denial of freedom of speech?

          4. Rob_G

            When did I say anyone was being denied freedom of speech – you said above: “…give Our Dear Leader a quiet tap on the shoulder and explain what free speech actually means”

            I’m not actually sure what some of your other comments have to do with the above statement.

          5. Mickey Twopints

            I knew you’d struggle with this. It’s difficult to know what level to pitch at so that you’ll be able to wrap your head around it.

            Here, try reading your own earlier comment:

            You introduced the concept of the disruptive element at a meeting “forcing” others to listen to them, and posited that free speech doesn’t extend to that [behaviour].

            I’m left wondering if you’ve thought this through.

          6. Rob_G

            Thank you; I read it again and was bowled over by my own eloquence.

            My comment was in response to your “explain what free speech actually means” comment, and makes perfect sense in that context. It doesn’t mean that others are obliged to listen to you.

  3. Whatevers

    Shouting “Go Away and get a job”, that’s prime cuts of Fine Gael right there

  4. martco

    I reckon these famous popularity polls are waay off.

    Anecdotally everyone I chat with work or socially either up in Dublin or down in Wexford when the subject of politics comes into view has some problem or another with FG & at least on face value say they’re going to punch them hard when the next opportunity for a GE arrives.
    It’s a mix of stuff but the common denominator is that nobody buys the massage & spin. apart from some obvious failures/scandals & the spinners its the detachment from reality & sense of entitlement…also picking up on a fear that we’re not being told the half of it.

    as someone who posted there the other day on here – we seem to be getting an Ireland that we don’t want.

    And I reckon they know it too.

  5. dav

    Excellent work, these blushirt servants of the vulture funds need to know the anger of the people

  6. Dr.Fart MD

    the reaction of FG is so telling, as it always is. If they were a competent government who truly worked for the people and society, they would address these protesters and ask what the problem is. The fact that they meet it with vitriol, shouting at them and throwing insults, shows an overtly defensive action, meaning they know they have no answers, they just don’t want the debate. FG only events are their safe space, the only place they don’t have to go to their cue cards for answers, or creatively deflect or avoid questions to show them up for what they are. When this is invaded they react like this. Clune demanding names straight away, because the reacion is to find and punish supposed uprisers. Only thing is, this was a Town Hall style meeting, where you are allowed in. They just expected everyone to be pro-FG, doe to their arrogance.

    1. Rob_G

      Perhaps if they waited until the point of the night where speakers were taking questions from the floor, they would have been listened to? (if not enthusiastically).

      I’m pretty sure that if I went to a Connolly Youth Movement meeting and started shouting things out in the middle when someone else was speaking, I might be asked to leave, too.

      1. Dr.Fart MD

        yea probably.. if Connolly Youth Movement were the party in charge of running the country and were allowing a society crumble despite of having a strong economy and resources to support it. But they’re not. They did this to try draw further focus on FGs failings and get across the point that they want them to start working for everyone not just the few. It’s a form of protest. Protest is supposed to disrupt, so to get attention. If they waited for questions to the floor, and raised their hands, and asked what were FG going to do to make Ireland a place for everyone to live, it would never have seen the light of day. They’d get an evasive answer, be spoken down to and moved on from. It wouldn’t make any impact. But with what they did do, was make it a news item lots of people are talking about, therefor highlighting the issues apparent.

  7. newsjustin

    “Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Cabinet will undoubtedly have expected some soft focus PR during their trip to Cork City, with political strategists eyeing up the chance to win over some badly needed rural support”

    Fiachra O Connaith should know that Cork City is an urban location, not a rural one.

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