Gardaí gather intel files on some anti-vaccine activists

Gardaí are compiling intelligence files on some of the protesters who have been involved in recent demonstrations outside the homes of Leo Varadkar and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

fficers from the Special Detective Unit (SDU), which monitors the activities of hard-right extremists among others, is investigating some of the individuals involved in a “homophobic” protest outside the Tánaiste’s new Dublin 8 home on September 19.

Last Sunday, another small group of protesters gathered outside the Dublin home of Dr Holohan, an event now also being profiled by specialist officers.

A  source said the force has been monitoring the online and offline exploits of anti-vaccination campaigners for more than a year, since a small number of far-right extremists became involved in violence at anti-lockdown protests across the country last year.

“Gardaí have a renewed interest now in terms of investigating some of the characters who’ve presented in recent weeks outside the homes of the Tánaiste and Dr Holohan,” the source said.

It is An Garda Síochána’s responsibility to “ensure some of these recent protesters are not dangerous, that they do not have the capabilities to cause actual harm”, they added.

However, the well-placed source stressed that many of those involved in the two recent protests are “not criminal masterminds, and are mostly not criminals at all”.

“In the main, they are not to be feared and might be best described as clowns with nothing better to do.”

One of the organisers at the protest outside the Tánaiste’s home was Finglas-based Graham Carey, who works as a truck driver and is prolific among anti-vaxxers for his online videos denouncing the Government.

When he was approached outside his own home by the Sunday World in the days after addressing the crowd picketing Mr Varadkar’s house, Mr Carey said: “Don’t ever come back here. Get off. Get off my property.”

He is one of a number of anti-vaxxers who have been involved in protests outside the private addresses of politicians.

The homes of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and former health minister Simon Harris have also been targeted. 

Gardaí said the demonstration outside the Tánaiste’s house was the “most troubling” due to the “homophobic” element in what was said by some of those assembled.

The protest group, which calls itself We the Sovereign People, was behind the demonstration outside Mr Varadkar’s home.

One of the hard-right protesters present regularly posts videos online spouting conspiracy theories and has targeted Jewish people online.

A video posted to social media shows around 25 protesters, some holding placards bearing anti-vaccine messages. In another video, homophobic insults can be heard.

The incident was widely condemned by government ministers and politicians of all parties.

While the SDU is gathering intelligence on those who were present to determine if they pose any threat, it is understood there is no active criminal investigation into the demonstration.

The protest outside Dr Holohan’s home last Sunday is also being investigated.

“It is important not to blow things out of proportion, to give these people too much credit. If you look at it logically, what were they even doing outside Tony Holohan’s house?” a source said.

“The majority of restrictions are now lifted, so what exactly they were protesting about is very questionable and points to the intelligence or lack thereof in relation to some of these protesters.”

A major investigation into the activities of hard-right extremists got under way 14 months ago, and profiling of some of the individuals involved in protests in recent weeks is an extension of this.

In August and September of last year, gardaí established that some former members of Generation Identity Ireland, a white nationalist group, were the chief agitators during Dublin anti-mask demonstrations that turned violent.

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