| 6.8°C Dublin

Man arrested after 'phone-call' TD's office firebombed

A MAN has been arrested and questioned about the firebombing of a Government TD's office.

Embattled Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin's constituency office was firebombed shortly after she repaid the Oireachtas €2,000 for calls she made to a friend in Kenya using her Dáil phone.

Hours after the Mayo TD repaid the money, gardaí and the fire brigade were called to her constituency office on John Street, Ballina, after the property was set alight last night.

The fire was put out soon after the emergency services arrived but the scene was cordoned off by gardaí for further investigation.

The cause of the fire has yet to be established but sources said it was likely to have been caused by a petrol bomb.

"I'm devastated and I'm shocked," Ms Mulherin said.

"It wasn't long after my office closed and it is a very busy office with staff and constituents regularly coming in."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also expressed outrage at the attack on the office of his party colleague and fellow Mayo TD.

"Obviously as a public representative I am appalled really that anybody would attack an office like this," Mr Kenny said.

A 39-year-old man was arrested in the early hours of this morning. He was later released without charge. Investigations are ongoing.

Ms Mulherin was in Dublin at the time of the attack,but she has spoken to gardaí in Mayo.

Last weekend, it was reported that Ms Mulherin was the only TD or Senator registered as present in Leinster House on the days when calls were made to a specific mobile phone number in Kenya.

Ms Mulherin revealed yesterday that she gave €2,000 to the Houses of the Oireachtas following claims she inappropriately used her Dáil phone to call her friend Danson Kole in Kenya.

RULES

However, Ms Mulherin insisted the calls to Mr Kole were work- related and not personal.

She also asked Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett to establish if she broke rules by using her Dáil telephone to call Kenya.

Last weekend, it was reported that Ms Mulherin was the only TD or Senator registered as present in Leinster House on the days when calls were made to a specific mobile phone number in Kenya.

Details of the calls first emerged in Freedom of Information documents obtained by RTE's Investigation Unit.

The calls to Kenya were among a number of calls to foreign countries, including Colombia and the United Arab Emirates.

Ms Mulherin has since defended making the calls and insisted she was speaking to Mr Kole about newspaper reports on their relationship.

She said Mr Kole, who worked on her successful 2011 general election campaign, is a close friend and a "political confidante".

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy