Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Minister unperturbed by pub protest

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte was confronted by protesters outside a Dublin pub

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has shrugged off an anti-austerity protest where up to 50 demonstrators confronted him in a Dublin pub.

The Labour TD was soaking up the sun and a pint at the front of Doheny & Nesbitts near Government Buildings on Wednesday night when he was spotted.

An organiser of a protest taking place at the front of the Dail made a phone call from the bar to divert the demonstration.

"The funny thing was that he missed the real focus of his protest - the Troika were upstairs," Mr Rabbitte said.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin was also in the pub at a function for officials from the European Central Bank, European Commission and the International Monetary Fund when the incident occurred. Finance Minister Michael Noonan joined the event later.

Mr Rabbitte said it was a matter of "wrong place, wrong time" when confronted by "an uninvited greeting party".

"It's not the kind of accompaniment you'd search out. These guys are pretty professional at what they do - not much I could do about it," he told RTE Radio.

Mr Rabbitte was heckled as he sat at the counter with advisers. There was no physical abuse.

Two off-duty gardai were in the bar at the time and it is understood made phone calls to colleagues.

A number of uniformed gardai arrived a few minutes later and cleared the protesters from the bar.

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