Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar speaks out over Roscommon eviction video

By Aoife Moore

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he has seen the video of the Roscommon eviction that sparked a major police operation.

The eviction sparked a week of major media attention after the video was shared on social media, with many criticising the private security firm, and a group confronted the security staff last Sunday, for heavy-handed tactics.

A number of people needed hospital treatment, and a dog with the security men was killed.

Gardai are investigating if the attack on the guards was organised by people angered that some of the security work was given to a firm based in Northern Ireland.

"On the video of the eviction, I have seen it," Mr Varadkar said.

"What of course I didn't see - was everything. Each time you watch a video, you need to bear in mind, there are events that happened before the video started recording, there are events that happened after the video recorded, and there were events that weren't on video.

"I don't think anyone can say just from that video that they have a full understanding of what happened. But certainly nobody likes to see force being used on anyone unnecessarily. Nobody likes to see evictions happen, particularly in the run-up to Christmas time."

An eviction order was executed last Tuesday during which two brothers and a sister were removed by a private firm.

The McGann family released a statement on Tuesday saying they had been left "shocked" by the ordeal "thrust upon them".

"We wish to make clear we condemn all forms of violence and want to see the rule of law upheld, but we have also been deeply upset by the use of inflammatory language that has characterised much of the media reportage."

They added that they were disappointed by Mr Varadkar's comments when he was asked about the incident by Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty.

The Taoiseach told Mr Doherty: "When it comes to Sinn Fein and the rule of law and public order and condemning violence, it doesn't take very long for your balaclava to slip."

The family, who released the statement through their former neighbour, Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy, asked that the Taoiseach refrain from further comment.

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