Thursday 8 December 2016

Cowen attackers 'fascists' - Martin

Daniel McConnell and John Downing

Published 26/04/2015 | 02:30

Brian Cowen
Brian Cowen

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has hit out at protestors who subjected former Taoiseach Brian Cowen to a barrage of abuse on the street, describing them as "fascists".

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Mr Martin was responding after a video emerged of former Mr Cowen being called a "scumbag" and a "traitor".

He told the party's Ard Fheis yesterday: "People who blatantly restrict the freedom of movement are essentially fascist in their approach to politics and society - and I make no apology for saying that."

Mr Martin stopped short of calling for Garda security provision for former office holders to be restored.

"I would put the onus on those who are doing these kind of attacks. Society has to stand up to them quite frankly . . . and I think the power of moral argument is the strongest force, ultimately."

He compared the Cowen incident to when protesters trapped Tanaiste Joan Burton in her car for almost three hours last November.

The party's Justice spokesman Niall Collins, however, did say it is time to bring back garda drivers for former office holders' state cars.

"I am saying the Government should ensure a review of Mr Cowen's security and that of other former office holders. If they deemed it appropriate to give former office holders a car and garda driver, I would not object," Mr Collins said.

He criticised the move by the current Fine Gael-Labour Government in March 2011 to dispense with garda ministerial drivers as "a populist gesture".

Sunday Independent

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