MINISTER Pat Rabbitte was on the receiving end of verbal abuse while having lunch in Buswells Hotel in Dublin on Friday afternoon, which led to a man being arrested by gardai.
The Communications Minister was enjoying a business lunch with another suited gentleman in the hotel opposite Leinster House when he was castigated by a member of the public.The man in his 50s had been protesting earlier that day outside Savills auctioneers on Molesworth Street over the sale of a Kildare stud farmer's land because he could not repay an Anglo Irish Bank loan.Following the demonstration organised by People for Economic Justice, the protesters moved to Buswells Hotel for refreshments and encountered the minister and another businessman in the hotel's bar.
The enraged protester continually asks Mr Rabbitte, who remains calm and aloof throughout the barrage of abuse, if he thinks he is "following in the footsteps James Connolly".
He then shouts: "Four suicides a week in this county by people who have been robbed and pillaged by the banks", to which he receives a rapturous applause.Lunching Rabbitte gets an ear-bashing for dessert - National News - Independent.ieJohn Rogers, another protester who had also spoken with the minister but had not abused him, was asked to leave the bar by gardai.
Mr Rogers, who was previously arrested while taking part in the Occupy Dame Street protest, would not leave the bar and demanded to know why he was being singled out. Eventually, gardai led him from the building while he shouted: "Read me the legislation", and "Abuse".The crowd then turned their attentions to Mr Rabbitte, who was sitting a couple of feet from the incident, and shouted: "Why didn't you intervene, Pat?" and "You sat idly by, Pat."The businessman who was dining with Mr Rabbitte told protesters that Mr Rogers had asked the minister a question but had "spoke politely".He was then asked if he would appear as a witness for Mr Rogers if it went to trial, to which he said: "Yes, I'd say that he didn't harass him in any way."Mr Rogers was bought to Pearse Street Garda Station, where he was charged under the public order act and is due to appear in court next month.
I find this article interesting on several grounds.
Firstly Does Pat have the right to dine in Public without questions being asked of him by members of the public?
Who was paying for this lunch with this mystery English person Pat was dining with?
Why did the Gardai arrest someone who had not caused a scene?
Above all what I find very interesting is how quickly the other people in the restaurant turned against Pat, when the original protestor mentioned 4 suicides per week because of banks people applauded him. When the other protestor got arrested people turned on Pat and questioned why he sat by and did nothing.
Considering Enda said that this would be the toughest budget ever the other day, are people finally waking up and starting to fight back?