Thursday 5 December 2019

Fine Gael seeks security review in light of MP murder

Pictured members of the public take a moment to remember Jo Cox MP. Photo: Sam Boal/
Pictured members of the public take a moment to remember Jo Cox MP. Photo: Sam Boal/

Niall O'Connor

Fine Gael has asked the Oireachtas to carry out a review into the security of TDs, senators and their staff in light of the horrific murder of British MP Jo Cox, the Irish Independent has learned.

Newly-elected Fine Gael chairperson Martin Heydon yesterday asked the Clerk of the Dáil to re-examine security arrangements.

The Kildare South TD said he has been contacted by both TDs and members of the public who have been left shocked and saddened by the murder of the Labour MP.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Heydon said the staff of TDs and senators feel particularly vulnerable and that the issue of security should be examined.

"My heart goes out to the family of Jo Cox. They must be wondering that if she hadn't come through the election, would she still be alive today? It shows the sense of vulnerability around public representatives and their staff, who are simply trying to do their job," Mr Heydon said.

The Fine Gael chairperson confirmed he contacted the clerk of the Dáil Peter Finnegan yesterday and requested the review.

"It's timely and appropriate," he said, adding that the level of vitriol directed towards TDs online has increased significantly recently.

The news comes as Taoiseach Enda Kenny told an Irish audience event in Manchester that he would refrain from commenting on next week's EU referendum in light of the murder. "It's appropriate to pay tribute to the life and times of Jo Cox, who was murdered on the street in West Yorkshire, a mother of two young children going about her business as any councillor or MP or public representative would do and to be shot down and taken away from her family and children is an appalling crime," Mr Kenny said at an event at the city's Irish Heritage Centre.

Mr Kenny did, however, signal plans by the Government to extend voting rights to Irish emigrants.

The Fine Gael leader said he has asked the new Diaspora Minister Joe McHugh to prioritise allowing Irish people living abroad to vote in Presidential elections.

"This is an issue that has been around for a very long time but there have been quite sophisticated advances made," Mr Kenny said.

Irish Independent

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