Security review of Varadkar home under way after ‘homophobic’ protest outside his house last weekend
A security review of Leo Varadkar’s home is under way by gardai tasked with protecting the Tanaiste in the aftermath of a “homophobic” protest outside his new home. ardai were alerted and attended the demonstration that took place at lunchtime last Sunday at the Dublin home Mr Varadkar shares with his partner, Dr Matt Barrett. The protest group, which calls itself We the Sovereign People, were behind the demonstration. One of the far-right protesters regularly posts videos online spouting conspiracy theories and has previously targeted Jewish people online.
Videos posted to social media show around 25 protesters, some with placards bearing anti-vaccine messages, and another in which homophobic insults can be heard. The incident has been widely condemned by Government ministers and politicians across the spectrum. It is understood gardai are now reviewing the Tanaiste’s home security arrangements.
This newspaper revealed in July that gardai previously identified “security concerns” at the property, ahead of the Tanaiste moving in. “A security assessment was done previously and another one will now be carried out. One security concern has always been the property’s proximity to the street,” said a source.
“These security assessments are a necessary part of the job, as gardai are tasked with protecting Mr Varadkar. If gardai didn’t identify them and work towards a solution, then we wouldn’t be doing our job properly.” The Tanaiste receives a high level of Garda protection at present following a slew of threats.
In March, the Sunday Independent revealed several death threats were levelled against him, leading to round-the-clock armed garda protection. Sources said the death threats were being taken “extremely seriously” and gardai were “responding appropriately” in terms of providing protection to Mr Varadkar. It is the responsibility of the Special Detective Unit (SDU) to provide armed protection in the form of a full-time SDU driver to the Tanaiste.
Condemnation of last Sunday’s protest was swift from Mr Varadkar’s Dail colleagues last week. Further Education minister Simon Harris said on Twitter: “Sickening, repulsive, disgusting behaviour outside the home of @LeoVaradkar and Matt. “It has no place in a democracy, must be condemned by all & called out for what it is.
Efforts to dehumanise politicians contributes to this. Vile on so many levels.” Special Education minister Josepha Madigan said: “It’s not OK for the mob to appear at home of @LeoVaradkar shouting invective vitriol.”
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald condemned the incident as “outrageous and shameful”. She tweeted: “The homophobic, bigoted intimidation witnessed at the home of Leo Varadkar today is outrageous and shameful. The perpetrators must be held to account.”
Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon said: “What occurred outside Leo Varadkar’s house today was nothing short of vile. Blatant homophobia has no place in our Republic and should be confronted wherever it occurs.” In a statement, gardai said: “Gardai were alerted to a number of protesters outside a residence in Dublin 8 this afternoon, Sunday, September 19, 2021 at approximately 1pm.
Gardai attended and the protest ended without incident.”
A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar has been contacted for comment.