A vile assault

Clonmel politician Phil Prendergast was left traumatised and shaken following an incident in Cork last week.

The Labour Party MEP was attending a funeral in the city when she was approached by a man who spat directly into her eye.

Ms Prendergast was not canvassing at the time - she is seeking re-election to the European Parliament - but her assailant left no doubt that it was a politically motivated attack, referring to her as ‘Labour scum’.

This is a new low for Irish politics. There have been instances of things thrown at politicians in the past, and former Tanaiste Mary Harney had paint thrown over, but the attack on Ms Prendergast was vile, sickening and unprecedented.

She was spat at directly into her eye, necessitating medical attention and raising the fear of serious infection. Results of test won’t be known for weeks.

No wonder Ms Prendergast said she never felt so violated and thought about pulling out of the election and politics generally. No candidate should have to endure such abuse and an attack on a woman on her own adds to the seriousness. It was a cowardly attack and no doubt the perpetrator would have thought twice before doing it to a man. Let’s hope it will never be repeated.

Michael Heverin





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