Gardai drive minister and wife 200km to airport after his chauffeured car breaks down
GARDAI drove a Junior Minister and his wife 200km to Dublin to catch a flight after their car broke down, it has emerged.
Junior Minister Dara Murphy was travelling to Dublin Airport from Cork to catch a flight to Brussels for an EU meeting.
However his chauffeured car got into difficulty on the M8 close to Fermoy, The Irish Star reports.
The politician was told it would take over an hour for roadside assistance to arrive, and was unable to secure a taxi.
He also checked availability on afternoon flights to Brussels, however there were no seats available.
On-duty gardai then drove the Minister and his wife Tanya, who was with him in a personal capacity, to the airport.
A spokesperson for the Minister said there was sufficient garda cover for the area while he was being driven to Dublin during the incident, which happened earlier this month.
It is estimated that the journey would have cost almost €450 in a taxi.
There are conflicting reports on how garda assistance ended up coming to Mr Murphy's aid.
The Star reports comments from the Minister's spokesperson that the help was offered - however the Irish Examiner reports the Minister as telling the paper he asked Fermoy garda station to send help as it was an 'emergency'.
The spokesperson told the Star: “The assistance of Gardai was offered, not requested, and was only accepted after receiving confirmation that there was sufficient cover.”
However Cork Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary has slammed the Minister, and called for him to repay the cost of the lift.
“It is absolutely outrageous behaviour in today’s climate, and I would call on Dara Murphy to account for, and pay back, the cost to the State”, he told the paper.
It is not the first time Mr Murphy has grabbed the headlines.
Just last month it was revealed he had hired a failed politician as his €630 a week chauffeur.
He was also criticised for charging supporters €85 to have breakfast with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in a bid to raise funds for his General Election campaign.