herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Councillor who shared link was 'irresponsible'

A FINE Gael TD who was secretly recorded by protesters at his constituency office has hit out at the "irresponsible" behaviour of a Dublin councillor who shared the link online.

The less than two-minute clip, posted on YouTube on Friday night, shows Brendan Griffin involved in a stand-off with four people who had entered his constituency office in Killarney.

Fingal Councillor David McGuinness (Fianna Fail) tweeted the link to the news website broadsheet.ie on Monday predicting the stand-off would "most likely go viral".

DISCREDIT

Mr McGuinness has rejected claims by the Kerry South TD that he was acting irresponsibly and was trying to discredit him.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion and we live in an internet age and I found it of interest how dismissive a Government TD was in relation to some of his constituents," Mr McGuinness told The Herald.

He said the interest generated by the clip since he tweeted it had confirmed that. He also said that he did not know Mr Griffin personally or the four people who had protested at his office.

Mr Griffin said he was "intimidated" by the tactics used by the protesters whom he had invited into his office "in good faith". Eventually, he said he was forced to call the gardai after they refused to leave.

In the clip, which has already been viewed by more than 4,000 people on YouTube, Mr Griffin can clearly be heard asking them to leave and telling them the conversation is over.

He is told by one of the protesters he is their "servant" and that they pay his wages.

The Kerry South TD said he had accepted the four people who introduced themselves as being from 'Killarney Says No' - a protest group against austerity and the bank bailout - into his office on Friday morning.

He claims that about 10 minutes into their conversation he noticed one of them appeared to be recording him and confronted him about it.

Brian McCarthy of 'Killarney Says No' said he posted the clip on YouTube out of "frustration" over how they had been treated.

"I would regret that I did it (posted the clip on YouTube) now because I'm not that type of person. But the way we were treated, I could not believe it, and I just felt so outraged," Mr McCarthy said.

However, he insists the only footage he had recorded was what he posted online and he had not been filming when Mr Griffin claims he was being recorded without permission.

Mr Griffin said he has never declined to do an interview and would not have minded if he had been asked for his permission first.

SENSATIONAL

"Their only aim here was to get something sensational and make me look like someone who wouldn't talk to constituents that they could put on YouTube and the way they went about it was disingenuous and dishonest," he said.

"I don't mind people disagreeing with my point of view but when they're not being constructive and are just looking to cause trouble there's no point. The people who elected me were the ones being disrespected by this carry on."

He accused Mr McGuinness of acting irresponsibly by sharing the link.

"If I were him I'd be keeping my head down. You'd expect better from a public representative and he (Mr McGuinness) needs to ask himself if he were doing clinics would this be acceptable," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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