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Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Man questioned over suspected arson attack on Michelle Mulherin's constituency office

Gardaí said there was minimal damage to the office.

Updated 8.58am 

A MAN HAS been questioned in relation to the suspected arson attack on the constituency office of Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin in Mayo last night.

Gardaí were called to a building on John Street in Ballina at around 7pm. A window was broken and there was a small fire inside which was put out by the fire service.

A garda spokesperson confirmed this morning that a 39-year-old man was arrested in the Ballina area last night and was questioned in relation to the incident.

He was later released without charge and an investigation is ongoing.

There was “minimal damage” to the office and no one was inside at the time. The scene has been preserved for a technical examination.

Reports last night suggested that it was a petrol bomb attack but gardaí could not confirm that.

The TD issued a brief statement on the incident:

Gardaí are investigating an incident at my office in Ballina, Co. Mayo, this evening.  Thankfully nobody was injured.
I await the outcome of the Garda investigation and will be making no further comment at this stage.

hogan mulherin Former Environment Minister Phil Hogan opening Mulherin's constituency office in 2011. Michelle Mulherin Facebook Michelle Mulherin Facebook

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mulherin’s Fine Gael colleague and Meath East TD Regina Doherty said the incident was “outrageous” and “off the wall”.

“I think the level at which people are expressing their dissatisfaction with maybe their politicians or particular policies has reached a new level, something I’ve never heard before, in the last number of years,” she said.

Local Fine Gael councillor Jarleth Munnelly told last night that he heard about the incident from someone at the scene and described the incident as “a disgrace”.

“It it is, what it appears to be – a petrol bomb attack – then it’s very serious. Irrespective of what’s been in the media at the moment and people’s views on that, an attack like that on the office of a political party or a politician shouldn’t happen in a democratic society. It has to be condemned.”

Mulherin was in the news this week when she confirmed that she made calls totalling €2,000 from Leinster House to Kenya between 2011 and 2013.

She said none of these calls to a man by the name Danson Kole were personal. It’s reported this morning that she has repaid the money to Oireachtas authorities.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Originally published 9.08pm on 27 January 2015

Read: Gardaí investigate fire at Michelle Mulherin’s constituency office

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