TD Mattie McGrath compares Ireland to "Nazi Hitler's time" after protest denied by Gardaí
Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the comments as "disgraceful".
Independent TD Mattie McGrath compared present-day Ireland to "Nazi Hitler’s time" during a heated argument in the Dáil on Wednesday about a taxi driver protest planned for tomorrow, which was denied permission by Gardaí.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the comments as “disgraceful" and encouraged the Tipperary politician to withdraw them.
McGrath said he was contacted by a number of taxi drivers who had been "wiped out" as a result of the pandemic, adding that the refusal of the protests was "totalitarian".
“Are we going back to Nazi Hitler’s time? What the hell is going on here? We need to pull up Drew Harris. He is our Garda boss man but I don’t like the antics… I support the Gardaí always but this is driving people away from supporting the Gardaí and we need a debate on it here.”
The Taoiseach responded by calling on McGrath to withdraw the "contemptible" remarks referring to "Nazism and Hitler".
“I think that is a disgraceful and contemptible remark. Gardaí have to make operational decisions, operational decisions in an unarmed police force in this country that has stood us well and served the country very well throughout the years," he said.
“That reference should be withdrawn irrespective of to whom it applies, given the appalling atrocities that Nazis committed and that Hitler committed.
“We are a far different country than that and it is not good enough that remarks like that would just slip off the tongue in condemning operational decisions that have been taken.
“It should not be tolerated because we are the one country that has been a beacon against fascism since the foundation of the state. We were the one country that brought in a Constitution that was radical in its time with judicial interpretation in the middle of the fascist era in the '30s – one of the few countries that did it.
“A bit of self-awareness and a bit of acknowledgment of where this country has come from is due and you should withdraw those remarks it is not good enough."
The Tipperary TD replied by telling Martin he would not be withdrawing the remarks and to "spare me the lecture".