rumble in roscommon

Elbowed by-election candidate won't accept Frank Feighan's 'half-hearted apology'

“I got a couple of elbows fairly forcibly – about four I think into the back and I was pulled back by another Fine Gael person who I don’t know.”

scuffle 2

THE INDEPENDENT BY-ELECTION candidate who was elbowed away from Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan will not accept his apology.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, John McDermott said that he would withdraw the complaint he made to gardaí following the incident if Feighan made a “genuine” apology.

If Frank rings me up and says, ‘Look it, I’m sorry’ and the rest of it, I will withdraw it.

McDermott claimed that Feighan only apologised because RTÉ had caught the incident on camera, adding that he thought Fine Gael would have tried to blame him for the scuffle and call him “a proper thug” if video footage didn’t exist.

The incident took place at an event in Roscommon town on Friday, when Kenny was approached by members of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, of which McDermott is the chair.

On Saturday Feighan released a statement saying that acted the way he did as he expected 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.”


Responding to Feighan’s assertion that the protesters have become “far too aggressive”, McDermott said that most of the committee are over 60 years of age.

He also noted that at a protest in Ballinasloe in Galway in 2012, Kenny asked to meet him.

“I don’t think I would have been invited in to meet the Taoiseach on a one-to-one if we were violent, as Frank was insinuated.

I was actually looking at the Taoiseach when Frank was pushing me backwards and then I got the digs … I just put my hand on Frank’s shoulder. At the beginning of the whole lot of it, I was standing directly beside him. There was no pushing or shoving.

“I was bruised and sore but I’m not making any issue of that. I got a couple of elbows fairly forcibly – about four I think into the back and I was pulled back by another Fine Gael person who I don’t know.

“It shouldn’t have happened, I didn’t instigate it,” McDermott stated. has contacted both Feighan and Fine Gael for comment.

Here is a list of all the candidates running in the Roscommon South Leitrim by-election. 

Related: Official complaint made to gardaí over Frank Feighan elbow scuffle

Related: Fine Gael TD “regrets” scuffle with by-election candidate

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