Belfast Telegraph

Kenny 'bullied' on campaign trail

A Government minister has accused opposition TDs of bullying and harassing the Taoiseach in the run-up to the referendum on the fiscal treaty.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said those urging a No vote on the European deal have tried to stop Mr Kenny from canvassing across the country.

He called on the opposition to use their influence over their supporters in a positive way and stop resorting to "street politics".

"The only harassment and bullying I have seen over the last couple of weeks is supporters of the No campaign harassing and bullying the Taoiseach as he campaigns through the country," said Mr Noonan.

"They are trying to prevent him from talking to ordinary, decent citizens and explaining the situation to them."

This comes after protesters pelted the Taoiseach's car with eggs earlier in the week during a visit to Donegal.

He was also met by angry anti-treaty campaigners in Athlone, Co Westmeath, last week when one man confronted him over the Government's austerity measures.

The Finance Minister called on opposition TDs, including those from Sinn Fein and left-wing Independents, to respect the dignity of the Taoiseach's office and the positions they hold as members of Parliament.

"Don't go for street politics when you can express yourself totally and fairly in here," he said.

Earlier, Sinn Fein argued that ratifying the fiscal treaty will lock Ireland into years of unending austerity and harsh rules under Brussels control.

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