The Irish politician arrested three times over the course of two days for drunk and disorderly behavior and for drink driving is alleged to be the Social Democrat James Heffernan from Co. Limerick.
Heffernan was affiliated with the Labour Party between 2007 and 2012. He had been an independent from 2012 to 2015. The 36-year-old does not currently hold office in national government, but he was elected as a Senator in the 24th Seanad (Senate) in April 2011. He was elected on the Agricultural Panel for the Labour Party and was recorded as having the second worst attendance record for that Seanad. He was present for only 23% of votes, according to a study carried out by the Irish Independent.
While attending the Indiependence music festival in Cork over the course of the recent holiday weekend, Heffernan, a primary school teacher, was apprehended on three different occasions by the gardaí (Irish police) for drunken behavior. He is alleged to have spat at an officer trying to arrest him.
Earlier reports did not name Heffernan, who was reportedly first arrested at the Cork music festival on Sunday and taken to Fermoy Garda Station, where he continued to act in a disorderly manner and assaulted a police officer.
Heffernan was released on Monday morning and taken back to Fermoy later that day and charged with drunk driving. Hours after his second release he found himself back in a Cork garda station for being drunk and disorderly and accosting members of the gardaí.
Heffernan has since posted an image to his Twitter account of his own broken lip.
— Jasper Carrott (@jimmyheffo) August 2, 2016
Heffernan moved to Australia in the early 2000s, but the Kilfinane native returned to Ireland to rekindle his political ambitions. He was successful, winning a seat on the old Limerick County Council in 2009. He ran for the Dáil as a Labour candidate in the 2007 and 2011 general elections but failed to win a seat. He tried again for the Dáil earlier this year, this time as a member of the Social Democrats. While he was a Senator, he lost the Labour party whip in December 2012 after he voted against the party and the government on a Social Welfare Bill.
Heffernan has had previous run-ins with the gardaí. Earlier this year he was arrested for refusing to leave a crime scene in Dublin’s Temple Bar. He had been drinking with friends when he stumbled into an area cornered off by Gardaí, which they believed may have been a murder scene. Heffernan refused to leave when ordered to do so. He was arrested on the spot, taken to Pearse St. garda station but later released without charge.
Before the announcement that Heffernan was to run as a candidate of the new Social Democrats party, he stated that he was in talks with colleagues in Leinster House with the aim of founding a new Irish political party that would challenge Sinn Féin.
“Sinn Fein flip-flopped every which way and when they saw mass mobilization of people, they cynically jumped on that bandwagon – they are bringing innocent kids who maybe are well-intentioned and they are getting them elected and brainwashing them,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“I have been working my socks off up here to try and put together a serious, proper alternative to the politics of intimidation and bullying which Sinn Fein espouse.”
A bio for James Heffernan is no longer available on the Social Democrats' website.