Protesters gather outside home of Health Minister Simon Harris

Several protesters gathered outside the home of the Ministry of Health Simon Harris earlier today.

The demonstrations took place at the cabinet in Co Wicklow, where he lives with his wife and three-week-old daughter.

Gardaí was invited to attend.

In a statement, the military said the protests had left the area peacefully and that questions had been raised.

Minister Harris’ spokesman said: “These events are over.

“The Minister would like to thank An Garda Síochana for their support and for ensuring the safety of his wife and daughter.”

Minister Harris’ Fine Gael Noel Rock’s colleague condemned the protests, insisting that everyone has the right to privacy.

A spokesman for Rock said: “This is not happening and should be opposed by all pro-democracy activists.”

Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter: “Looking at the minister’s private home is not wrong … I hope he and his family are safe”.

Spending a lot of money

In recent weeks the minister has been facing political turmoil in the ongoing dispute over nurses and the rising cost of a new Ana hospital.

The Irish Times today reports that Minister Harris will apologize to Dáil in the coming days for not providing much of the medical budget when asked in September.

In response to a parliamentary question, Prime Minister Harris told Fryna Fáil’s Barry Cowen on September 18th that the amount spent so far was “within line with expectations” and that the budget for the project was close to over 1 billion.

Cowen’s deputy asked if there had been more money for the project.

On Thursday, recently released memos revealed that Minister Harris had been aware of the € 191m euros in August last year – as well as additional requests for € 200 million from the construction company.

Minister Harris finally briefed the Government on € 450 million in November.

He now believes the project will cost at least € 1.7bn.

The Taoiseach has confirmed he still has ‘full confidence’ in the Ministry of Health, and has defended the minister’s approach without warning the Government until all is known.

Leo Varadkar said on Friday: “If Simon Harris had told the Government in the past about the coming amount, I would have told him to do what he did.”

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