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Irish minister defends getting airport lift from gardaí

Irish minister Dara Murphy has defended his decision to get airport lift from gardaí

AN Irish government minister has defended his decision to get a lift to the airport from gardai.

Dara Murphy, minister of state for European affairs, has been criticised for accepting the lift from an on-duty gardai who drove him and his wife over 200km from Cork to Dublin Airport.

He said he believes it is the protocol that if ministers need assistance and have no alternative, gardaí should be called for help.

However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last night said the use of a garda car to transport Mr Murphy was not an appropriate use of resources.

He said this was particularly the case given the recent strain on garda services.

Mr Murphy's car broke down on the side of the road near Mitchelstown, Co Cork early on September 13.

He was on his way catch an early morning flight to Brussels for a meeting of European Affairs ministers in relation to the migrant crisis.

Mr Murphy said he only contacted gardaí after phoning the AA and failing to get a taxi.

He said a duty Garda sergeant told him they were having a quiet evening and could drive him to the airport.

Mr Murphy told RTÉ’s This Week he was certain he had made reasonable attempts to get a taxi and to look for a later flight.

He said he offered to pay gardaí back for any overtime that may have been accrued and also said he would pay for the petrol used, but was told there was no mechanism to do so.

"I do regret if people feel that I did something inappropriate. I made a call on the night representing this country," he said.

He added: "I felt I had to make the call on the night.

"I believe that is the protocol in place. If ministers have no alternative, the guards should be called."

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