Shatter fury over Ming's 'Nazi' jibe in bitter turf war

Niall O'Connor

DAIL deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has enraged Justice Minister Alan Shatter by comparing the ban on turf-cutting to "Nazi Germany".

In extraordinary scenes in the Dail, the minister slammed Mr Flanagan over the remarks - before calling him an "ignorant buffoon".

Mr Shatter has now demanded as apology from the Roscommon TD, adding that he should "examine his conscience".

The row broke out during a debate on the cost of monitoring the ban on turf-cutting in some bogs and ended in Mr Flanagan storming out of the Dail chamber.

His independent colleague, Wexford TD Mick Wallace, had asked the minister about the costs associated with the deployment of Air Corps flights to monitor activity on the country's 53 conservation sites on raised bogs - where turf-cutting is outlawed.


After Mr Wallace suggested that the spending was a waste of resources, the Justice Minister hit back, adding that he (Mr Wallace) had "very little respect for the law and has seen fit to break it".

However Mr Flanagan's interjection in the debate led to furious scenes in the chamber.

He intervened and said "they had laws in Nazi Germany too, but thank God some people broke them".

Mr Shatter immediately demanded for the remark to be withdrawn - a call that was ignored by Mr Flanagan.

Mr Shatter then said that if Mr Flanagan "is so foolish as to suggest that the difficulties in relation to the bogs replicate matters that happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, I would suggest he seek to educate himself on what occurred. He continued: "If he thinks there is any comparison between the dispute he is continuing to maintain in relation to bogs and the death of six million people in the Holocaust, perhaps the deputy will go and examine his conscience.


Off mic, he added: "Deputy, you are an ignorant buffoon."

The TD then interrupted the minister to retort yet again that "we are heading in the direction of Nazi Germany".

The clash continued as Deputy Flanagan was leaving the chamber. He said to Mr Shatter: "Do what you are told" and the minister retorted: "You are an ignorant buffoon."

The minister said it was a pity he did "not have the decency to apologise before he leaves the House".

At the door of the chamber, Mr Flanagan turned and shouted: "Do you want to throw something else at me, you coward?"