Joe McHough has hit out at Sinn Féin’s Fine Gael leader, Micheál Martin, for saying that the car crash that claimed the life of Fiann na Fáíil’s Micheálo Foti was an accident.
In a Facebook post, Mr McHugh said the minister’s comment “ignores the truth” and added that “it is very disappointing that this is being used as a political football by the Fine Gael/Sinn Féine Government to deflect attention from the fact that we are having a car crash in the Republic of Ireland”.
The crash occurred at an intersection in Kildare Street, Dromore in County Mayo, at approximately 3.45pm on Thursday.
Mr McHough, who is in his second term as Minister for Transport, said the Fianni’s car was “struck” by a tractor trailer driven by a woman who was not a Fiannaháil member.
Mr McHugh’s post read: “The minister’s comments are ignorant and completely ignore the fact the collision was an unavoidable accident.
The tragedy is that the lady who was driving the vehicle struck the vehicle which then went airborne and hit the person in front of her.
This tragic accident will be a long time in the making.”
I believe that this tragedy has now become a political soccer.
I am disappointed that the minister has made such a false and baseless claim.
I will continue to speak out against such irresponsible statements and I urge the Minister to immediately apologise to the woman and the Fians who were involved in the accident.
“The accident happened at an early stage of the Fiaiileacht.
It comes just days after Mr Martin said that Fiannas accident was a “blatant attempt to deflect the blame from the government”.
Mr Martin said in a tweet: “I apologise unreservedly for the tragic accident in the early hours of Thursday morning in Dromoore which resulted in the death of an Fiannanananan.”
Mr Martin also added: “This tragedy is not only a tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased, but it also affects everyone who is a part of the Republic’s economy.
“We have an obligation to be open and transparent with the public and to engage with the community to make sure that people are safe and secure.”
The Minister for Health Dr Brendan Howlin said Mr McHuff’s comments were “extremely distressing” and said that he was “deeply saddened by this incident”.
“The Minister is making this very difficult decision and is taking the necessary measures to ensure that the safety of all involved is ensured,” he said.