Friday 20 July 2018

TD will not face charges over claim that car hit woman protester

Fine Gael TD for Meath West Ray Butler
Fine Gael TD for Meath West Ray Butler
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

It is expected that no charges will be brought against a Fine Gael TD who was accused of hitting a female protester with his car following a demonstration outside his constituency office.

Meath West TD Ray Butler was interviewed by gardaí in response to claims that he struck the woman as he drove away from his office in Trim, Co Meath.

Mr Butler, who is a first-time TD, was in the car with his son when the alleged incident took place in February.

He has maintained that the woman "hopped on" his vehicle and has completely denied any wrongdoing.

Officers interviewed Mr Butler, his son, two witnesses and the woman at the centre of the case as part of their inquiries.

A garda spokeswoman told the Irish Independent that a file has now been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration.

"We are awaiting directions," the spokeswoman said.

Sources, however, have strongly indicated that no charges will be brought against Mr Butler.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, the Dáil deputy said the incident caused him to consider whether to leave politics.

He added that he had lost his no-claims bonus on his insurance as a result of the garda investigation.

"I have no problem with anybody protesting but in this case, it was taken to a whole new level that was unacceptable.

"The allegations made on the night were completely unfounded and I have made this clear to the garda who interviewed me," Mr Butler said.

"This has had a profound impact on my family and it does make you question whether you want to be in politics or not.

"Nobody deserves to have to go through this. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," he added.

Phone calls and emails to the woman who made the allegations against Mr Butler were not returned last night.

Mr Butler is one of several Government politicians who have expressed anger after protests were held outside their homes and offices.

On the night in question, a small group of protesters demonstrated outside Mr Butler's home while his wife and children were inside.

This is when the alleged incident involving the woman took place.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among those who condemned the actions of the protesters who targeted Mr Butler's home in Trim.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe and Tánaiste Joan Burton have also seen their homes targeted by demonstrators in recent months.

Irish Independent

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