Justice Minister Simon Harris has said there should be reflection on how gardaí deal with blockades that prevent asylum seekers being accommodated at properties.
Mr Harris said that is not a criticism of Garda operational decisions but that going forward, blockades cannot become an acceptable form of protest.
It comes as a delivery truck driver was on Thursday denied access to a premises in Dublin which is earmarked to accommodate refugees. Protesters allowed the workers to haul in items such as mattresses on foot.
The idea of blockading cannot become or be seen in any way, shape, or form as acceptable protest, Mr Harris said.
You do have a right to protest in this country but you don’t have a right to continue to obstruct, impede, intimidate, or endanger.
“I do think there is a very fine line and on some occasions it has been crossed,” he said.
Mr Harris said scenes in a separate location in Dublin of people
“hijacking the Irish flag” and wearing balaclavas were not a protest.
He said he has discussed the matter with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and is satisfied that gardaí have plans to deal with these protests.
Speaking to Virgin Media’s Tonight show, he said blockades are not appropriate and when asked why the blockade in Inch, Co Clare, was not stopped by gardaí, the minister said: “I do think that has to be reflected on as we go forward.
“That’s not a criticism, by the way, of operational decisions that were made by the gardaí in good faith and I trust the commissioner but we can’t have a scenario where this becomes the new norm, where we are trying to respond to the biggest humanitarian crisis any of us have lived through.”
He said gardaí always keep their operations under review and as the Government enters a “new phase” in going around the country again to find additional accommodation, “I think we have a very clear understanding of where the line stops in relation to protests and where the line starts in relation to unlawful activity.”
He said in Dublin alone there have already been 11 arrests of anti-immigration protesters.
Worried and concerned
He said he is “worried” and “concerned” about a small number of far-right “bad actors” travelling around the country, stoking up fear.
Simon Harris urged people not to “fall for the playbook of the far-right”.
Meanwhile, he denied that junior Fine Gael ministers