Hundreds of angry protesters have stormed Garda barricades at a Labour Party conference.
Crowds of placard-waving campaigners broke through security lines to picket the Bailey Allen building at NUI Galway, where the coalition party was holding its annual party meeting.
The mob used a coffin draped in the Irish flag as a battering ram, chanting: “They say cut back, we say fight back.”
There were reports of Gardai using pepper spray to hold the crowd back.
One 13-year-old protester from Ballymun said he was threatened with the spray. “I’m here because I want to fight for my future,” said the young protester. “I want to be able to go to college, but Eamon Gilmore won’t let that happen.”
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MINISTER FOR the Environment Phil Hogan last night reiterated that the Government was determined to pursue all householders over payment of the €100 household charge and confirmed that local authorities would have a central role in pursuing those who had not paid to date for arrears and penalties.
Mr Hogan said more than 900,000 people had registered for the charge, and thanked those who had signed up to pay.
He added that, over the coming weeks, data protocols would be put in place to allow the Local Government Management Agency to draw up a comprehensive database.
Mr Hogan said the data protocols would allow the agency to contact State utility providers as well as the Land Registry and the Property Management Act to enable a thorough cross-checking to take place of those who had registered and paid to date and those who had failed to register.
The details will then be forwarded to the local authorities and notifications will be sent out to those who have yet to pay, reminding them of their obligation to pay in the same way as people are notified of their requirement to pay the charge for their TV licence, he said.