Man held over damage to Minister Phil Hogan’s car released from custody
A MAN in his 20s has been released from custody after being arrested earlier this afternoon by gardai after a window in Environment Minister Phil Hogan's car was smashed by a protester.
The car was taking Mr Hogan from the rear entrance of the Athlone Town Centre shopping centre at around 3.15pm when the front window was smashed.
Mr Hogan was in Athlone to launch the Pathways to Learning project at the Aiden Heavey library in the centre.
Up to 20 anti-austerity protestors, comprised mainly from a group called 'The Peoples Voice', had gathered at the front entrance of the centre when Mr Hogan arrived at the function.
However, as he attempted to leave the carpark a large group of people surrounded his car and began rocking the vehicle, shouted obscenities and banged repeatedly on the roof.
Protestors claimed the car rolled over the man's foot, causing him to lash out and hit the windscreen on the passenger side.
"I've been talking to the driver and the man was standing in front of the car so there's no suggestion it went over his foot," a spokesperson for Minister said.
"We refute that the car went over his foot in the first place. We've had demonstrations before but never rocking the car and banging on the roof."