Tuesday 25 October 2016

Minister Dara Murphy refuses to admit making mistake in accepting lift from on-duty gardai

Published 27/09/2015 | 13:59

Dara Murphy and his wife Tanya when he was Lord Mayor of Cork.

JUNIOR Minister Dara Murphy has apologised to anyone who felt his use of a garda car to travel to the airport was inappropriate.

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However the embattled Minister of State for European Affairs refused to concede he made a mistake in accepting the lift.

The Minister has been in the spotlight since it emerged on-duty gardai drove him and his wife over 200km from Cork to Dublin Airport.

Speaking to This Week on RTE Radio One, he said he was presented with a difficult situation after being left stranded on the side of a motorway in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

“I think it was a very difficult situation I was presented with, and I fully understand why people who are aware of the limited garda resources will and do say it was inappropriate.”

He said his driver had to remain with the car on the side of the road for the AA to come.

He also said that internet coverage was limited, so he wasn’t able to do a lot of research into other flights while waiting.

“I did try to, the first thing I did was try to phone taxis so that we would make the flight. Then we had no Google or limited satellite coverage, so when we did get onto the Ryanair website and flight scanner website there were no flights available.

Dara Murphy and his wife Tanya when he was Lord Mayor of Cork.
Dara Murphy and his wife Tanya when he was Lord Mayor of Cork.

“I did try to get alternative transport, I did try to change to a later flight.”

It has since emerged there would have been no other flights available that day that could have accommodated the Minster.

He also responded to reports in a Sunday paper which said the meeting he was flying to Brussels had been cancelled.

“Before every council meeting there are pre-council meetings with the Irish ambassador and officials.

“After I arrived in Brussels, Ambassador Kelleher contacted me to say there was an emergency meeting of all the ambassadors.”

He accepted there could have been other ways to get to Brussels should he have missed the Dublin flight – such as via London later in the day.

“I very well possibly could have. I never in any of this suggested there would be no other circumstances under which I would have been able to get myself to Brussels. In difficult circumstances I made judgement call.”

He said he at all times made it clear to gardai that should there have been an emergency situation he would have no issue with journey being terminated.

“I apologise if people feel the resources were not properly used. It was a decision I took at the time.

“I feel I had to make the call on the night.”

Decision at 3am to use garda escort a close call - minister

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