FG's cool hero tries hand at hot pursuit


THE Government took firm steps to tackle the State's growing crime problem yesterday when the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications helped to apprehend a mugger in Dublin.

Mr Michael Lowry was being driven into the city by his escort and fellow Tipperary man, Garda Tadgh Healy, when the incident took place. The ministerial Mercedes had reached Crumlin when the Minister noticed a woman on the pavement being attacked by a young man.

He saw the man grabbing the woman's handbag and running away, and instructed the garda to turn and give chase.

The mugger ran towards a nearby school but quickly realised the Mercedes was in pursuit. Possibly identifying its celebrated occupant - the Minister once known as "John Bruton's dagger man" and Fine Gael's "cool, clean hero" - he dropped the handbag in fright and made off.

The Minister ordered Garda Healy to stop the car, and jumped out to pick up the bag. The two then resumed the pursuit of the assailant.

The Mercedes followed the man on to waste ground behind the school where, after a speedy appraisal of the situation, a division of responsibilities was determined. Garda Healy was sent out to tackle the man while the Minister stayed in the car and tackled his mobile phone.

A struggle between Garda Healy and the mugger ensued, with the garda sustaining scrapes and bruises as he brought his quarry to the ground. Meanwhile the Minister dialled 999 and a squad car was dispatched from Sundrive Road Garda station.

The man was arrested and brought to the station. He is understood to have had a syringe in his possession when searched. The handbag was returned to the distressed woman who was being comforted by passers by.

A spokesman for the Minister said Mr Lowry had been delighted to play his part in helping the woman who had been attacked. "It was fine example of Transport, Energy and Communications in harmony," he said. "Transport - the Garda driver. Energy - the two of them chasing your man. Communications - the Minister on his mobile phone".