Friday 24 January 2020

Bullet in your head’ threat to TD over hospital vote has changed his life

Roscommon TD Frank Feighan (right)
Roscommon TD Frank Feighan (right)

Brian O'Reilly

ROSCOMMON TD Frank Feighan has spoken of how he was threatened with a bullet in the head over his vote to close the A&E department at Roscommon Hospital.

The Fine Gael TD told TV3 news that his life has completely changed since the vote.

“You have people coming up to you and saying put a bullet in your head or saying people will die because of your actions, these things certainly affect you.”

He told reporter Ursula Halligan about a campaign of intimidation that has been waged against him since the controversial vote.

“The Gardai would have been working closely with me, they’re keeping an eye on my house. There are nights you wouldn’t go home to your own house, I live three miles away in an isolated area.”

The TD spoke about the reaction outside the Dail immediately after the vote, saying: “It was a mob. I was being tackled and spat upon and punched. People felt they had a right to insult you or assault you or intimidate you.

“Parish pump politics got us where we are. I think the Jackie Healy Rae kind of attitude has been corrosive,” he said.

Fellow Fine Gael TD Denis Naughten lost the party whip after abandoning ship during the vote in July last year, casting his vote against the Government.

Mr Feighan faced harsh criticism from the local electorate after promising with Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Roscommon A&E services would not be touched during the 2011 election campaign.

He said he changed his mind due to the regulator finding the hospital unsafe.

“I have apologised publically at public meetings. I have said I was extremely sorry the way this was handled,” he said.

Mr Feighan has since suffered from severe anxiety; being taken to hospital in Berlin over the Christmas period for what he initially thought was a heart attack.

He said he remains determined to work within Government for the people of Roscommon.

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