An NUI Galway student has told SHEmazing! she was removed from an academic conference attended by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny – for wearing a Repeal The 8th jumper.
The female 2nd year student added that she was escorted from the university building by An Garda Síochána and a security guard.
Yesterday evening, a group of 25-30 students was hosting a peaceful protest calling attention to the abortion rights campaign. It is claimed, however, that the removed student was not involved in this activity.
— Hazel Nolan (@hazelnolan) November 10, 2016
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was visiting NUI Galway to open the international academic conference as part of the Irish 2016 Centenary Programme. Called 1916-2016: The Promise And Challenge Of National Sovereignty, it was held in the Bailey Allen Hall and was free and open to the public.
The student, who this morning was in contact with SHEmazing! but has asked not to be named, arrived intending to work on an academic project with a number of other students in a meeting room of the building. She says that she stopped briefly to watch the protest.
A number of protesters began chanting as Mr Kenny arrived, and the student added that at this stage she went to return to the meeting room.
"Gardaí came upstairs and removed the [protesters] and then came into our room. We told them we were not part of the protest," she revealed.
"A security guard then pointed to the Repeal jumper and asked 'what's that?'
"I replied saying that I am in fact a student and not a protester. My fellow students defended me saying it was merely a coincidence," she continued.
She says she was then escorted out by two gardaí and a security guard.
"I honestly felt very threatened in that room; they were very condescending.I feel that Garda-force was unnecessary and that we would not have been removed if it hadn't been for my jumper.
"We were all very upset by the events last night.
"I understand that because of the protest there were worries and tensions surrounding the Taoiseach's well-being but it could have been handled in a much more civil manner, without causing hurt and confusion," the student added.
Hazel Nolan, who posted a video from the conference to Twitter, said: "I'm auditor of UCD For Choice so it's great to see other colleges taking opportunities like this to protest about the 8th amendment.
"However, escorting someone from their own college, when they weren't even protesting, for wearing a certain jumper is ludicrous."
A Garda spokesperson told SHEmazing! that "an Garda Siochana were present to police this event and ensure there was no breach of the peace. No arrests were made by Gardaí."