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Gardaí investigate as alt-right protesters harass RTÉ staff at work and at home 

16th October 2022 06:44

Gardaí have confirmed they are monitoring RTÉ’s headquarters after journalists were targeted in a growing campaign of harassment from far-right protesters, the Irish Mail on Sunday has learned.

The protesters and conspiracy theorists have been harassing RTÉ staff members as they enter and leave the Montrose campus in Donnybrook, south Dublin.

In some instances the protesters banged on cars as they slowed down to pass through the security barrier while shouting ‘paedophiles’ and ‘scum’.

It is understood at least one protester has visited the home of a senior member of RTÉ’s current affairs team.

The RTE Campus in Donnybrook. Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin© Provided by Evoke.ie

An RTÉ insider said the protests are ‘ongoing’ and ‘sinister’. The source told the MoS: ‘You’re driving along and suddenly there’s someone pounding their fist on your bonnet and spitting hate at you. They’re there late at night. It’s a problem that seems to be getting worse.

‘It’s particularly worrying that these people appear to have found their way to the home of a staff member. They were spotted outside the house and a call was put into the guards.’

Last month, pictures of an RTÉ cameraman being abused by a crowd of people outside Dublin’s Four Courts went viral on social media. The video footage showed one man pushing past a television camera and photographers outside the city-centre court complex.

The man can first be seen shouting at one photographer in particular, but he then goes on to knock an RTÉ camera operator’s phone out of his hand, pushing the camera tripod a number of times.

Footage from the same video subsequently shows a crowd gathered around photographers and the RTÉ cameraman. They can be heard shouting ‘RTÉ genocide’, ‘fake news RTÉ’. One man shouts: ‘You’re filth, you should be hung from that f*****g lamp post. You’re scum, we’re coming after every f*****g one of you.’

One woman in the crowd references Covid-19 vaccines, describing it as a ‘bio-weapon’ and asking why this was not being reported on the news. The RTÉ cameraman, along with another camera operator from a different news organisation, can later be seen walking away from the scene with the crowd following them down the street.

RTÉ said it has ongoing contact with gardaí about staff security. A spokesperson for the State broadcaster told the MoS: ‘RTÉ takes the safety of all our staff and our sites very seriously.

‘Protests and demonstrations by individuals and by groups outside RTÉ’s Donnybrook campus are a common occurrence. RTÉ continues to liaise with An Garda Síochána regarding all such protests and demonstrations to ensure the safety of all our staff, as well as studio guests and visitors to RTÉ.’

RTé Pic: rolling news© Provided by Evoke.ie

Gardaí said there has been three organised demonstrations outside RTÉ HQ in the past five months. A Garda spokesperson said: ‘An Garda Sióchána proactively monitor and respond to all such demonstrations and gardaí at Donnybrook have attended the scene of three demonstrations since May 2022 which have all occurred outside the grounds of a business premises at Donnybrook, Dublin 4.’

A recent report by the global think tank, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) found that ‘hostility towards mainstream media and researchers is a core component of the Irish far-right’.

The report states: ‘As seen in the case studies about George Nkencho (an unarmed man shot by a garda in Dublin two years ago) and an anti-mask rally in September 2020, attacks, false claims and harassment campaigns were levelled against the media and extremism researchers working to report on and analyse these incidents.’

ISD researchers say Irish far-right groups, influencers and supporters are now using the messaging service, Telegram, to organise and mobilise their supporters. Similar to the WhatsApp free messaging service, the researchers said there are now at least 34 Irish Telegram channels used to promote far-right content.

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