A protest outside Minister for Health Simon Harris’s home on Sunday afternoon been condemned by politicians, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and campaigners.
About a dozen anti-austerity protesters held banners outside Mr Harris’s home in Co Wicklow.
Gardaí said the demonstrators left the scene peacefully after an hour.
Mr Harris was in the house at the time with his wife and their three-week-old daughter. Mr Harris has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks due to the nurses and midwives’ strikes and the spiralling costs of the national children’s hospital.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said it condemned in the “strongest possible terms” protests outside Mr Harris’s family home.
“The protests are completely inappropriate,” it said.
Mr Harris described the protest outside his home as “very frightening” for his family.
The INMO and its members condemn in the strongest possible terms the protests today outside Minister Harris’ family home. The protests are completely inappropriate.
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) February 10, 2019
“Obviously my number one priority is the safety and the well-being of my family. It was obviously a very frightening experience for them. Thankfully everyone is OK but a little bit shook,” he said.
Former HSE director general Tony O’Brien said the protest was “totally unacceptable”.
“It is wrong under all circumstances. It is especially wrong to intrude on precious family time with a new born baby,” he said.
Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin said the protest was “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
“Everyone is entitled to peace and security with their family in their own home. Putting yourself forward for public service does not take that right away,” he said.
Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltact Josepha Madigan wrote on social media “and we wonder why people are put off being a politician? Go figure”.
Minister of State John Halligan said it was “despicable carry-on”.
“Take the protest to the door of his department or the Dáil but not his family home,” he said.
David Hall, chief executive of the Irish Mortgage Holders’ Association said the protest was “despicable” and that family homes “should always be off limits as should family members”.
The group that organised the protest, Fingal Battalion Direct Action Group, said Mr Harris had “completely neglected” his position as Minister for Health.
In a statement they highlighted issues including the CervicalCheck controversy, the Bill proposing to legalise medicinal cannabis, nurses’ strikes, the children’s hospital overspend, hospital waiting lists and the housing crisis.