Mulherin’s office hit in arson attack

Gardai investigate the arson attack on the constituency office of Michelle Mulherin TD in Ballina on Tuesday night. Photo: Corinne Beattie Photography.

Gardai investigate the arson attack on the constituency office of Michelle Mulherin TD in Ballina on Tuesday night. Photo: Corinne Beattie Photography.

The constituency office of Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin on John Street in Ballina had a petrol bomb thrown through its front window on Tuesday just after 7pm. One unit of the Mayo County Fire Service attended the scene and brought the blaze under control and minimal damage was caused to the office, mostly as a result of smoke.

A 39-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident on Tuesday evening and was held for questioning before being released by Gardai in Ballina.

The first term Dáil deputy said after the attack: “I’m shocked that this could happen in a democracy. It was very upsetting for myself, my staff, and my family.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that he was “appalled” by the attack on Deputy Mulherin’s office, adding: “While protest is perfectly legitimate, there is no case for fire bombing the office of any deputy irrespective of what party or any which they represent.”

Deputy Mulherin hit the headlines last weekend when The Sunday Times revealed that she was the only elected member of the Oireachtas signed in to the Oireachtas on the 19 days when a number of calls were made to Kenya which cost in the region of €2,000. Dep Mulherin this week said that none of the calls she made were personal and that they related to a third party, a private citizen, who had been maligned and defamed in a in a newspaper article because of their association with her. Deputy Mulherin has said this week that she had paid a sum of €2,000 to the Houses of the Oireachtas and that she had written to the Ceann Comhairle to look into the incident and that she would repay the cost of the calls.

The information regarding the calls came to light on foot of a Freedom of Information request from the RTE Investigations Unit which outlined the 30 most expensive phone calls made from 2011 to 2013 in the Houses of the Oireachtas, however the names of the individuals who made the calls were not revealed following a ruling from the Information Commissioner.

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