garda probe

Fine Gael TD "regrets" scuffle with by-election candidate

John McDermott said he will be referring the incident to gardaí.

Scuffle RTÉ News RTÉ News

A FINE GAEL TD has said he “regrets” becoming involved in a scuffle with a protester yesterday – if his actions “caused hurt”.

Frank Feighan was filmed by RTÉ News yesterday pushing into by-election candidate John McDermott at an event in Roscommon Town.

McDermott is now considering referring the incident to gardaí.

In a statement this afternoon, Frank Feighan said he expected that he and the Taoiseach were “going to be confronted in an aggressive and physical manner”.

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

As a Fine Gael TD and a member of the Government, the public expects the highest standards.

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.

He also claimed that protests regarding Roscommon Hospital “have become far too aggressive”.

However, speaking this evening to, McDermott said he “totally refuted” this.

McDermott is chair of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee, and said that the group never “manhandle” anyone or have become aggressive.

McDermott said the incident came as a “complete shock” to him, as he knows Feighan “very well”.

However, Feighan has yet to contact him about the incident, and instead released a statement to the media first. McDermott said:

If he was actually genuine about an apology, he would have contacted me first.

Feighan said that he met with the Minister for Health and a number of stakeholders at Roscommon Hospital earlier today.

“Most importantly, consultants at the hospital have confirmed on the public record that patients in County Roscommon and further afield are now much safer, helped significantly by the introduction of the air ambulance service. As a result, scores of lives are being saved.”

McDermott said that the services at the hospital are still “inadequate”, and had wanted to question the Taoiseach on pre-election commitments made to the hospital.

Originally published 5.40pm

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