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Taoiseach Micheal Martin blasts ‘aggression’ seen at anti-mask marches

Extra.ie logo Extra.ie 21/09/2020 Aoibhin Bryant
Micheal Martin wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Extra.ie

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has come out against anti-mask marches that have occurred over the last couple of months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said that the Government will look at the ‘balancing act’ of protests after demonstrations saw a counter-protestor injured in an assault.

Mr Martin has said that the Government’s actions on the marches must successfully undermine some of the messages seen at these demonstrations, such as denying the dangers of COVID-19.

Micheal Martin wearing a suit and tie: Taoiseach Micheal Martin has come out against anti-mask marches that have occurred over the last couple of months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pic: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY / RollingNews.ie © Provided by Extra.ie Taoiseach Micheal Martin has come out against anti-mask marches that have occurred over the last couple of months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pic: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY / RollingNews.ie

‘I don’t approve of those marches, I don’t approve of the aggression that has manifested itself in some of those marches,’ he said to Pat Kenny on Newstalk.

‘I think obviously the state has to make sure the public health regulations are adhered to in all circumstances, particularly in terms of public marches.

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‘The Garda has to make operational decisions, there’s much more to play here than just the public health side of this. We have to balance people’s right to have their views, at the same time they must do so in a publically safe way.’

a group of people walking down the street: Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney said that the government will look at the ‘balancing act’ of protests after demonstrations earlier this month. Pic: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie © Provided by Extra.ie Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney said that the government will look at the ‘balancing act’ of protests after demonstrations earlier this month. Pic: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

He went onto say that thankfully the message is ‘not winning’ the public’s support.

‘There’s a number of deniers in those protesters who deny that coronavirus is as deadly as it is,’ he said.

a group of people walking down the street: Micheal Martin has said that the Government’s actions on the marches must successfully undermine some of the messages seen at these demonstrations, such as denying the dangers of COVID-19. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie © Provided by Extra.ie Micheal Martin has said that the Government’s actions on the marches must successfully undermine some of the messages seen at these demonstrations, such as denying the dangers of COVID-19. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

‘Thankfully they are not getting traction and thankfully their message is not winning any public support whatsoever. How one responds has to be intelligent, informed and ultimately aim to undermine the messaging coming from those groups and make sure they remain as marginalised as they already are. ‘

As Co Dublin progressed to Level 3 of the Government’s ‘Living With COVID-19’ plan, Mr Martin said that Co Louth, Co Waterford and Co Donegal will be ‘closely monitored’ as cases continue to rise in the three counties.

‘It is a significant decision to move up to Level 3 for any county,’ he said.

‘That will be carefully considered and obviously NPHET will advise Government in relation to those counties and the broader situation.’

Anyone who may have been in contact with a person who has COVID-19, is advised to contact HSE Live (1850 24 1850 , www.hse.ie/eng/hselive)

If you are unwell with a cough, especially with respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever) you should isolate yourself immediately and phone your GP.

If you have a COVID-19 related travel query, you can call the dedicated advice centre on (01)613 1733.

Follow the government’s latest travel advice here

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