Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis: Call to bring back garda drivers for ministers

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman has said garda drivers may need to be returned to ministers and former taoisigh in a bid to stamp out recent abuse of senior political figures.

Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis: Call to bring back garda drivers for ministers

Limerick TD Niall Collins issued the call to row back on the “populist” 2011 decision by the Coalition to dispense with the security.

He urged a change after a video was posted online over the weekend that showed Brian Cowen, the former taoiseach, being surrounded by protesters in Dublin and called a “scumbag” and “traitor”.

Video via The Niall Boylan Show, 4FM. Can't see it? Click here

Responding to the situation at the Fianna Fáil ard fheis, Mr Collins said that the Fine Gael-Labour coalition Government should “ensure a review of Mr Cowen’s security and that of former office holders”.

Mr Collins said that, if it is “deemed appropriate” to return garda drivers and a private car to these formerly senior politicians — a move that would cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of euro every year — then “I would not object”.

“It is the duty of the Government to ensure steps are taken to minimise the risk of such occurrences,” Mr Collins said.

He added that, following a similar incident involving Tánaiste Joan Burton, he met with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to make the same call.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s marriage equality referendum campaign, Ms Burton said “what happened to him [Mr Cowen] shouldn’t have happened”.

However, Ms Burton said that the decision on whether to bring back garda drivers for former holders of high office is “entirely a matter for the Garda commissioner” and “that’s the way it ought to be”.

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