Threats to politicians are ‘disgusting’ attack on democracy - Taoiseach

Simon Harris criticises ‘thugs’ after anonymous threats to FG Limerick mayoral candidate

Taoiseach Simon Harris said anonymous threats made in recent days to Limerick Fine Gael mayoral candidate, Daniel Butler, were disgusting and a threat to democracy.

Mr Butler is the latest in a growing list of politicians and political candidates who have faced harassment and intimidation.

“The threats made against Daniel Butler, his family and his family home are disgusting, are an attack on democracy and are an attempt to intimidate,” the Taoiseach told reporters in Limerick on Sunday.

“How dare these thugs behave in such a fashion? I’m quite frankly sick and tired of the situation where a very small number of people seek to intimidate people seeking election.”


It comes in advance of the Fine Gael leader publishing its local election manifesto on Monday. In the housing section, it is understood he will repeat his ardfheis promise to build 250,000 houses over the next five years, and set out steps to achieve that goal.

It will also defend the right of people in rural Ireland to build one-off housing, focus on returning more vacant houses to use, and extend the “help to buy” scheme for another five years. It is also understood it will propose to bring in new measures to prevent the bulk-buying of houses and estates.

It comes as Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys will bring forward legislation that will allow people with strong work histories who are made redundant get weekly benefits of up to €450 for the first three months.

Ms Humphreys has said that many with strong work records lose their jobs but their financial commitments don’t change, adding to the stress of unemployment. The new higher rate of benefit is designed to help tide people over during the time they are looking for new employment.

The weekly rate of payment for people who have at least five years’ paid PRSI contributions will be set at 60 per cent of previous earnings, subject to a maximum of €450 for the first three months. After that, the rate will reduce to 55 per cent of earnings, and then to 50 per cent after a further three months.

In a speech to the National Economic Dialogue forum today, Mr Harris is expected to commit to further cost-of-living measures in the forthcoming budget.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times