Fine Gael TD receives ‘sinister’ death threat

Handwritten letter sent to Frank Feighan says ‘I know the time you leave the house’

Gardaí are investigating a "sinister" death threat which was hand-delivered to Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan on Monday morning.

The handwritten letter was delivered to the Mr Feighan’s constituency office in Boyle, Co Roscommon, and was immediately passed on to local gardaí.

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD described the threat as "a new low" and posted a small extract from the letter on Twitter, noting: "Four years of threats and abuse continue as I leave office."

In the extract, the writer says : “I know the time you leave the house and I see you coming home. You will get a bullet before long you gay bastered [sic]. RIP.”


Mr Feighan said that the letter had been dropped into the letter box of his constituency office, which is directly under his mother’s home.

He said his secretary became upset when she opened the post and saw the letter, and rang him immediately.

He said that, because of the sinister nature of the letter, he decided to pass it onto gardaí.

Mr Feighan said he had no doubt that the threat was directly related to the Roscommon Hospital issue, which involves the downgrading of services at the hospital.

The letter refers to the hospital and to ambulance services.

Mr Feighan said he did not have any suspicions as to the identity of the letter writer.

“I have not a clue - but the content could not be ignored,” he said.

While there had been other threats this one was “particularly sinister”, he said.

Threat condemned

Among those to condemn the threat was John McDermott, chairman of Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, which opposes changes to services at the hospital.

Mr McDermott said that if the letter writer thought that they were acting on behalf of the hospital campaign they were mistaken.

“This is not acceptable in any kind of society,” said Mr McDermott.

The hospital campaigner said it was ironic that the committee was set up to protect existing services and save lives “and this letter is the total opposite to that”.

The former by-election candidate said he was aware that Mr Feighan had got abuse and hassle over the hospital issue and that that was “fair enough”.

“But when it gets to threatening somebody’s life, that is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Hometown support

Mr Feighan said he was aware that people in his hometown of Boyle and in Leitrim were very supportive of him.

He recently highlighted what he described as the growing level of “vindictiveness” politicians face from the public.

He said there seemed to be some kind of frenzy surrounding the hospital issue and he said that he did not feel comfortable returning to his home at night.

He has spoken of a “less democratic” approach to politics.

In an interview with The Irish Times, he said there was a mob mentality in relation to the hospital issue, “and everyone got in on it, the GAA, the church, priests going up on the altar”.

In July 2011, Mr Feighan told the Dáil that he was “sincerely sorry” he would not be able to stand by his pre-election promise to safeguard emergency department services at Roscommon Hospital.

Gardaí in Boyle are investigating the threat.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland