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Harney spray-painted by protester

Minister for Health Mary Harney was sprayed with red paint today as work began on a new mental health unit in Dublin, the Press Association reports.

The TD was splattered across her neck, hands and clothes as protesters angry at health budget cuts gathered at the planned facility in west Dublin.

Despite the paint attack, Ms Harney continued with the turning-of-the-sod ceremony at the new Ballyfermot Primary Care and Mental Health Centre.

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The attack took place in the grounds of the unit as up to 20 protesters mounted a demonstration at the gates.

A Garda spokesman said a woman was arrested on suspicion of assault on Ms Harney in the grounds of Cherry Orchard Hospital at about 10.30 a.m.

She was being detained in Ballyfermot Garda Station for questioning.