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Fine Gael TD withdraws comments comparing some water protesters to ISIS

Noel Coonan has also said that he has received a death threat in the wake of his comments.

A FINE GAEL TD who warned that Ireland faces “an ISIS situation” if the more extreme elements  of water charge protests are not “nipped in the bud” has withdrawn the remarks.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Noel Coonan said: “I certainly would withdraw that comparison, but I think those people, I suppose probably anarchists would be more appropriate than ISIS.”

Coonan has also told Tipp FM that his constituency office in Templemore received a death threat after he made his remarks in the Dáil yesterday.

The Tipperary North TD made the controversial comparison to the Islamic State organisation during the course of yesterday’s lengthy Dáil debate on the government changes to the water charges regime.

Coonan described the scenes witnessed in Jobstown last weekend as “disgraceful” and said :“I think that that needs to be nipped in the bud.

“The people have given that signal to us now: nip that in the bud. If not we’re facing what is potentially an ISIS situation in Middle East if those people are allowed get on to do what they’re doing.”

Source: Hugh O'Connell/YouTube

During the course of the debate he also claimed that protesters in Dublin are “like parasites” and said they “live off country people as they have never acknowledged the role of country people”.

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Coonan has told Newstalk this morning that his comments had been misinterpreted and that he was referring only to the protesters who have “infiltrated a decent protest and have been anything but nice”.

“I have the utmost respect for Dublin people,” he said adding that he apologised for any offence caused to Dublin people saying they are “some of the most fantastic people in the world” whose wit “is second to none”.

Yesterday: Fine Gael TD says Dublin protesters ‘act like parasites and live off country people’

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Hugh O'Connell

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