European Minister Dara Murphy is being criticised after he was driven by gardaí from Cork to Dublin Airport.
The Irish Examiner reports the Minister sought help after his car broke down on the motorway outside Mitchelstown nearly a fortnight ago on his way to a meeting in Brussels.
After unsuccessful attempts to get a taxi, he and his driver contacted Fermoy Garda station and two on-duty officers then drove him to the airport, a 214km trip.
His constituency colleague in Cork North Central Sinn Féin's Jonathan O'Brien said Minister Murphy (pictured) put the gardaí in a difficult position.
"For Dara to put two members of the Force in that situation was a poor judgement call," he said. "He could have asked them to organise to drop him into Mitchelstown or to organise a cab.
"You don’t ask them to drive you to Dublin."
Original report in today's
Read More: Irish Examiner, by Fiachra Ó Cionnaith and Sean O’Riordan:
European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy confirmed he sought the help after his car broke down on the motorway outside Mitchelstown at 3am on Sunday, September 13, while he was travelling to catch a 6.40am flight to an EU meeting later that day.
The Cork North Central Fine Gael TD told the Irish Examiner the situation was an “emergency” and he and his driver had unsuccessfully attempted to get a taxi before contacting Fermoy Garda Station.
However, he has been criticised for diverting gardaí from their duty to undertake the 214km trip —instead of leaving him at the next town to find a taxi.
When contacted, Mr Murphy said his car broke down while he was on “government business” and that lunch-time flight seats were “unavailable”.
A later Sunday evening journey was ruled out because Mr Murphy was due to meet the Irish ambassador to Belgium that evening before chairing and attending two migrant crisis meetings on Monday morning.
Mr Murphy said that on his return to Ireland, he spoke to Garda Superintendent Ger Dillane, who said there was no extra costs as the officers were on duty.
However, constituency colleague and Labour senator John Gilroy said Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald should explain why gardaí ferried a minister across the country when they had “more important things to do”.
Mr Murphy also made the headlines earlier this year after it emerged that the taxpayer was left with a €30,000 bill after he and group of officials were jetted home from Latvia to vote in the marriage equality referendum.