THERE was a heavy garda presence around the South Court Hotel over the weekend, as hundreds of demonstrators voiced their unhappiness with Fine Gael policies.
Officers were drafted in from across the county, while a private security firm was put in place to protect the members of the Cabinet and Taoiseach inside the Raheen hotel, with entry by pass only.
On Saturday night, around 350 pro-life demonstrators took part in a vigil held in opposition to Fine Gael’s adoption of abortion legislation.
Demonstrators stretched down the Patrickswell road hoisting placards denouncing Fine Gael as ‘the abortion party’, with photographs of TDs who voted through the controversial legislation.
Donal Noonan, a member of the pro-life movement, said: “We want to let Fine Gael know they have betrayed the promise that they would not bring in abortion before the election. A lot of people voted for them on that basis.”
He called for an amendment to the legislation “so the principle of abortion is not accepted in this country, and we can revert to the situation where we cannot have abortion in Ireland.”
The protest was clearly audible during Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech.
But the biggest round of applause in the room rang out when Mr Kenny, speaking of the legislation, said: “I think we have done the right thing for women in Ireland.”
The anti-austerity alliance also demonstrated on Friday night, with local pensioner Brian Hinchy of Garryowen playing a central role.
He had written to the Taoiseach to request a meting when he visited Limerick.
He had been told his pension would be cut in order to collect the property tax which he had boycotted, with some taken from his son’s wages.
Although he received confirmation his request for a meeting had been received, he had yet to discover whether he would get his meeting.
Mr Hinchy was joined by around 50 members of the anti-austerity alliance at the entrance to the hotel on Friday night.