FG's Sheehan issues apology over incident with gardaí


VETERAN FINE Gael politician PJ Sheehan TD has issued “a full and unreserved apology” over an incident involving gardaí on duty at the Dáil during the summer.

The apology was issued last night following media reports that the TD threatened a garda after she prevented him driving his car because he was under the influence of alcohol.

An internal Garda report on the matter said he told the garda concerned that she would never be promoted “when we get into power”.

In a “personal statement” issued last night through the Fine Gael press office, Mr Sheehan said: “I wish to offer a full and unreserved apology for my behaviour on July 8th in the environs of Leinster House. This behaviour was totally out of character in my 30 years in politics.

“In particular I offer my deepest apologies to the gardaí on duty that night who were carrying out their duty in exemplary fashion.

“I also deeply regret the embarrassment this incident has caused the Fine Gael Party, its leader, my colleagues in the party, my constituents in Cork South West and my wife and family. I intend writing a letter in the morning expressing my deep personal apologies and regrets to the gardaí in question,” the statement concluded.

The incident took place at approximately 1am on July 8th last when the Dáil was entering its summer recess. According to the Garda report, leaked to news media, an “extremely intoxicated” Deputy Sheehan complained that he had been prevented by a garda from driving his car out of the Leinster House complex.

Mr Sheehan was described as being highly offended, maintaining that nothing of this kind had occurred to him in his three decades as a member of the Dáil.

The leaked report states that Mr Sheehan was informed he was not in a fit condition to drive as he would be a “serious risk” to himself and others and be liable to arrest for drunken driving.

The report states that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who was leaving the complex at the same time, said Mr Sheehan’s comments to the gardaí should be ignored.

In the end, Mr Sheehan agreed to take a taxi and leave his car at Leinster House overnight.

A Fine Gael spokesman said earlier yesterday: “The work and the conduct of the gardaí in Leinster House has always been exemplary. The incident referred to is entirely a matter for the gardaí.”

A member of the Dáil for 24 out of the last 29 years, Mr Sheehan is one of the more colourful politicians in Leinster House.