Complaint to gardaí over Feighan role in Roscommon scuffle

Byelection candidate John McDermott says he had no option other than to make statement

An allegation of assault by Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has been reported to gardaí following a scuffle in Co Roscommon on Friday.

Roscommon/South Leitrim byelection candidate John McDermott, who is also chair of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, made a statement on the incident at Roscommon Garda station at yesterday evening.

Mr McDermott said he made the complaint after Mr Feighan’s failure to contact him directly to apologise and the TD’s “half-hearted” statement issued to the media yesterday.

“He left me with no other option. It is up to the gardaí now. They said they will review any CCTV and news video footage and decide whether a file should go to the DPP,” Mr McDermott said today.


Mr Feighan yesterday apologised for his involvement in the scuffle in Co Roscommon where Taoiseach Enda Kenny was heckled over broken promises in relation to Roscommon hospital.

The scuffle started when Mr McDermott sought to approach the Taoiseach as he arrived in the town on Friday.

Deputy Feighan, aided by two other Fine Gael supporters, stepped in to hold and then shove Mr McDermott back.

Mr McDermott claims he received a number of elbows into the stomach from Deputy Feighan and described the use of force as “unwarranted” and “cowardly”.

While Deputy Feighan later acknowledged there had been a scuffle he insisted the incident was a “collision” between him and Mr McDermott.

In a statement, he said on arrival he had “formed the opinion that the Taoiseach was going to be confronted in an aggressive and physical manner”.

“In hindsight, I misread the situation and overreacted in a tense situation,” he said.

“I regret if any actions of mine caused hurt to anybody especially the Hospital Action Committee candidate and former Roscommon senior county goalkeeper, John McDermott.”

After shouts and heckling calling for the reopening of the 24-hour emergency department at Roscommon hospital, Mr Kenny defended the decision made three years ago to downgrade it.

Asked whether he would like to apologise to the people of Roscommon for the broken promises on the hospital the Taoiseach said: “Well when I spoke here in Roscommon before the general election I made my comments based on the information I had then. It wasn’t for me to determine professionally, clinically, or ethically the standards that were required and that applied in the accident and emergency unit”.

The Taoiseach said the Model 2 hospital had “an outstanding future” and would benefit from an investment of €20 million.

It was while in Roscommon that Mr Kenny also accepted responsibility for the controversial decision to appoint Seanad byelection candidate John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.