A Government TD is reviewing security at his constituency office after a man doused himself in petrol and threatened to torch himself on the premises.
Cork North Central FG TD Dara Murphy said he did not want to turn his constituency office on Cork’s Camden Quay into a fortress, but he has to take certain precautions to ensure his staff never have to face such a terrifying incident again.
“We are reviewing arrangements after the incident,” said Mr Murphy. “But, that having been said, it is important that people feel they have access to me by appointment. My staff handled the situation very well. But it was very upsetting for them and could have been much worse.”
He also praised garda negotiators and members of the fire service who responded to the stand-off.
The incident unfolded around 4pm last Thursday when the man arrived by appointment to discuss an issue with Mr Murphy’s constituency staff — a PA and secretary — at the Camden Quay office.
He spent an hour talking to the staff holding what they thought was a bottle of water. It is understood the issue being discussed was of a personal nature.
Towards the end of the discussion, the man, who is in his 50s, became extremely upset and agitated. He poured the liquid, which smelled like petrol, over his head and clothes. He then produced a lighter and flicked it several times but it did not light.
Terrified staff pleaded with him to give them the lighter and the local postman also arrived on the scene. They alerted gardaí and emergency services.
A 45-minute staff-off ensued while garda negotiators spoke to the man.
He was removed to hospital for medical treatment around 5.45pm.
The constituency office reopened for business on Monday.
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