GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Paul Kehoe has warned that politics is "changing for the worse" as members of the electorate "demand unrealistic things" from their local TDs.
The senior Fine Gael politician said TDs are struggling to juggle the pressures of modern day politics while trying to care for young families and elderly relatives.
And just days before the Dail returns following the Christmas break, Mr Kehoe has claimed that a "very nasty element" has crept into Irish politics in the past 12 months.
Mr Kehoe, who sits at cabinet said some government ministers and backbenchers have received death threats and reported instances whereby their family members have been subject to abuse.
"The vile messages that members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and the Labour parliamentary party have got, especially over the last three or four years, have been absolutely vile and totally unacceptable," he told the Herald.
"The bullying and harassment that they have gone through and that does go back to your own families as well," he added.
While insisting that politics is a "very rewarding job", Mr Kehoe said he believes it is changing for the worse.