GARDAí are to keep protection for government ministers under review following the paint attack on health minister Mary Harney, but there are no immediate plans to increase garda security for ministers.

All government ministers receive personal protection from their assigned ministerial drivers. Officers say that the incident involving Harney was somewhat unusual, because the person who threw the paint was an invited guest at the sod-turning ceremony, and the incident was therefore not a security breach to which gardaí should have been alerted. Harney's garda driver was standing beside her when red paint was squeezed on to her neck and clothes by Dublin councillor Louise Minihan. The garda driver was also splashed with some of the paint. Minihan was formally a member of Sinn Féin but is now attached to the socialist republican group Éirígí.

Other members of the Éirígí party held a small demonstration and were kept back from the ceremony by gardaí.

Minihan was arrested and taken to Clondalkin garda station. She was released shortly afterwards without charge but may face criminal charges.

Gardaí are well aware of the risk posed by demonstrators when high-profile politicians appear at events, but each public appearance is assessed individually. Each garda ministerial driver is also tasked with ensuring the politician's safety and security. However, their role may be changed as a result of cost-cutting in the forthcoming budget, following public criticism of members of the cabinet arriving in separate state cars for a government meeting in Farmleigh.

Minihan is now expected to be summonsed to appear before the district court if the local garda authorities determine she should be charged.