The Taoiseach has said his home had been subject to protests during his ministerial career and he had been subjected to protesters on the streets.

Micheál Martin was speaking as he arrived for the second day of a EU leaders summit in Brussels.

Asked about the picketing of politicians homes in the context of last week's murder of the Conservative MP David Amess, Mr Martin said garda intelligence was the first line of defence, but he said: "I don’t think that people should not turn up at someone’s home. We’ve all experienced that."

He added: "We need to protect that ingredient in Irish politics, that connection between people. And sometimes I think some extreme political groups want to disrupt that connection. That's part of their agenda.

"I always make a point of walking my streets.

"There were times in my political life when I would have been people who would have encircled me and would have roared and screamed at me, shouting and roaring sometimes, holding phones up to your face and all the rest of it.

"I would keep going. And because I think it's absolutely essential that we don't lose the ground, and don't lose the street as elected representatives."