Alan Kelly: Dara Murphy 'deserves a bit of latitude' with inappropriate use of Garda resources

The Environment Minister says Dara Murphy's use of a garda car to travel from Cork to Dublin Airport was not an "appropriate use of resources".

Alan Kelly: Dara Murphy 'deserves a bit of latitude' with inappropriate use of Garda resources

The Environment Minister says Dara Murphy's use of a garda car to travel from Cork to Dublin Airport was not an "appropriate use of resources".

The EU Affairs Minister has defended taking the lift - which he says was necessary to attend a meeting in Brussels.

Alan Kelly says Dara Murphy deserves a "little bit of latitude" because his car broke down in Mitchelstown at 3.30am in the morning.

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However, he says he would not have called upon the Gardaí in a similar situation:

Mr Kelly said: "Do I believe it was an appropriate use of Garda resources? No I don't.

"Having said that, it was very, very unusual circumstances at 3 o'clock in the morning on the side of the road on a motorway, so for that reason I think he probably deserves a little bit of latitude because of the circumstances.

"But, do I believe it was a good use of Garda resources? No I don't. I don't think in that circumstance I would have done the same."

Tánaiste Joan Burton also said that Minister Murphy's use of a garda car was not "appropriate", but he should not resign over the controversy.

"It's not the best use of police resources," she said, "particularly in areas like rural areas where, at the moment, people are certainly nervous about the issue of criminal gangs who are riding around the countryside looking for where they can carry out opportunistic robberies."

A Cork taxi driver has denied being politically motivated to speak out about Minister Murphy's controversial journey.

The taxi driver said that he spoke to the Minister that night about taking him to the airport, but when he was told it could cost at least €300, the Minister decided against hiring him.

Gerdy Murphy, who owns a minicab company in Cork, has been identified in media reports today as a Fianna Fáil supporter - but he said that he was not aware it was a Fine Gael Minister he was speaking to that night.

Mr Murphy said he only spoke out on Friday morning when he saw newspaper reports, because he wanted a number of issues clarified.

"There was a taxi available," he said.

"And number two - he baulked at the price.

"There was an interview done on Radio One yesterday. The said that I said I spoke to his son and that I don't have a son. So in other words, for people to think: 'This is a taxi driver, look, he said the man had a son and he hasn't got it.'

"There was nothing political."

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