25 September 2015
By Bryan Smyth
Cork Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien has strongly criticised his constituency rival Minister of State Dara Murphy for an ‘abuse of his position’ in using Garda resources for his own purposes. The junior minister’s car broke down outside Fermoy, Cork and requested that local Gardaí drive him over 200km to Dublin airport so that he and his wife would not miss a flight.
Deputy O’Brien questioned the validity of the minister’s excuse that he could not secure a taxi for the journey, especially after a caller to Cork’s No. 1 Radio Station RedFM, who claimed to be a taxi driver, during an interview said that the minister had rang for a taxi, but baulked at the price.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“I think that the minister’s use of the Gardaí as a personal taxi service is a very serious abuse of his position. If anyone else had been in a similar position, would your first thought not be to ring a family member, a friend, or even a party colleague? Failing that after the minister contacted the Gardaí, even as a last resort, he should have requested to be dropped into Mitchelstown, which as a major urban centre in the area would have posed no difficulty in securing a cab.
“The idea that the minister would have difficulty finding a cab is nonsensical and I think that the minister’s first thought was to use the Gardaí as his own personal car service.
“The minister placed the two individual members of the force into an impossible situation. They presumably felt that they could not refuse such a request. It was a poor call of judgement and a selfish act for the minister to do so. You do not ask two on-duty Gardaí to drive you over 200km to Dublin at a time when Garda resources are stretched to the limit due to government cutbacks simply because your car has broken down.
“From his reaction today, I don’t believe that the minister realises how serious a matter this is. The Gardaí must be allowed to perform their duties safe in the knowledge that they will not be called on to work as a private car service for ministers.”