Environment Minister Alan Kelly has said the person who sent a suspect package with a death threat to his constituency office is a “scumbag” who should be tracked down by gardaí.
Last Friday, the army’s bomb disposal unit was rushed to the Labour deputy leader’s office in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, after an envelope containing white powder and specific threats about the minister and his family was found.
The threat was later declared a hoax and no harm has come to Mr Kelly, his relatives or the staff member who opened the item.
However, speaking on local radio station Tipp FM, the environment minister said that what happened is unacceptable and, regardless of people’s political views, no one should be threatened in this way.
“The gardaí know my movements all day, every day, more or less,” he said. “I go through that [incidents] all the time, so I’m used to that.
“But this was a different level. For the lads inside my office to be subjected to something like that, where their safety is an issue now, is a level which I’ve never encountered before.
“Whoever sent this is a scumbag, it’s as simple as that.”
Since taking up the environment portfolio from former Fine Gael TD and current EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan last year, Mr Kelly has become an increasingly divisive public figure due to his role in overseeing Irish Water and the homelessness crisis.
In a July appearance on RTÉ chat show Saturday Night with Miriam, he confirmed there had been other threats against him, telling the programme: “It’s one thing to have threats against yourself or nasty things said about yourself. It’s another thing for stuff to be sent to your family, your wife, your parents and, also, my staff.”
The incident is one of a growing number of cases involving members of the Government.
Labour senator Lorraine Higgins recently put forward legislation to tackle online abuse.
Ms Higgins confirmed last week that a man, who previously sent her death threats, has been following her and emailing to say he would burn down her house and shoot her.
Last May, a Garda security sweep of her parents’ home, where she was residing at the time, took place following threats.
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