Independent TD Mattie McGrath has suggested Ireland is returning to ‘Nazi Hitler’s time’ during a heated argument in the Dáil.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the comments as “disgraceful and contemptible” and urged the Tipperary independent to withdraw them.
It came during an argument over a taxi driver protest planned for tomorrow that was denied permission by Gardaí.
"Nazi Hitler’s time"
Deputy McGrath said he was contacted by a number of Tipperary taxi drivers who have been “wiped out with the pandemic” and were planning on joining the protest.
“Are we living in a totally totalitarian state that we can’t have any protests?” he asked. “Safely; in cars
“I mean this is unbelievable and we saw what happened in Longford [sic] at the weekend in a Church – disgraceful.
“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.”
"Contemptible and disgraceful"
In response, the Taoiseach called on Deputy McGrath to withdraw the "contemptible and disgraceful" remarks.
“I would ask that Deputy McGrath withdraw the remarks that he made – and he should withdraw them – when he referred to Nazism and Hitler,” he said.
“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.
“That reference should be withdrawn irrespective of to whom it applies, given the appalling atrocities that Nazis committed and that Hitler committed.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.
"Not good enough for this parliament
He said the comments are “not good enough for this parliament and should not be tolerated.”
“It should not be tolerated because we are the one country that has been a beacon against fascism since the foundation of the state,” he said.
“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.
Deputy McGrath told the Taoiseach to “spare me the lecture” and said he would not be withdrawing the remarks.