Just a week after Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was accused of being drunk on air, another Irish politician is being accused of being drunk and verbally abusing a police woman who stopped him driving.
Opposition politician P.J. Sheehan is said to have told a police officer who stopped him driving his car while intoxicated on July 8 that “when we get into power you will get nothing" and that she would be "in trouble over this."
Sheehan 77, who represents Cork South West, is described in the police report to have been "extremely intoxicated" at the time, and he required assistance to "remain upright."
The police report obtained by the Sunday Independent reads : Re: Incident Involving Mr PJ Sheehan, TD, at Merrion Gate, Dail Eireann.
"Regarding the above, I am to report that at approximately 01.00am, I encountered an extremely intoxicated elderly male leaving Dail Eireann on foot via the gate leading to Merrion Street. I now know this man to be Mr PJ Sheehan, TD. I spoke to him on Merrion Street where he informed me that he had been prevented from driving his motor car out of Dail Eireann by a garda(policewoman) on duty inside the grounds of the complex.
"He stated that nothing of this sort had ever happened to him during his 30 years in office. He was highly offended that a garda should interfere with him in this manner. Mr Sheen was clearly intoxicated and required my assistance to remain upright.
"In response to this, I stated that it was my opinion that he was not fit to drive, would pose a serious risk to himself and others had he driven on to the public road and would hence render himself liable to arrest for drunken driving. He then got into a taxi.
"A woman who accompanied him and introduced herself to me as Mr Sheehan's wife apologised for his behaviour and informed me that she had the height of respect for the gardai, particularly for the garda who spoke to her husband inside the complex grounds.
"I then spoke to Mr Enda Kenny, TD, who was leaving the complex at this time. Mr Kenny told me to ignore what Mr Sheehan had said.
"I then spoke to [named garda] who had been on duty at Lawn in.
"She informed me that an usher had voiced concern over Mr Sheehan's ability to drive. She approached Mr Sheehan, who was in the driver's seat of his car. [Named garda] formed the opinion that Mr Sheehan was intoxicated and advised him not to drive, stating that she could arrange a taxi to collect him.
"He replied that I'm fine and told Garda [name] to follow him and proceeded to drive towards the Merrion Street gate without turning on his headlights.
"Garda [name] asked the usher on duty not to raise the barrier. She then asked Mr Sheehan again not to drive onto the public road. He eventually agreed to park the car and to travel by taxi.
"He walked back to the gate and engaged [named garda] in conversation where he proceeded to threaten her stating that she would never be promoted and that 'when we get into power you will get nothing' and that 'you'll be in trouble over this'. In the course of this exchange, Mr Sheehan made physical contact with [named garda] several times. Garda [name] expressed concern to me over threats made by this Deputy."
In an interview with the Sunday Independent,Sheehan admitted that he had had a "few pints" with his wife and friends, but said that he did not know if he had difficulty remaining upright.
"I can't tell you anything about it. I invite you to be wary. This is an infringement on my personal duties, my personal activity," he said.
"I can't remember what went on. I remember the garda. I can't recollect now. . . I'm not saying that I didn't. . . I was very tired after a hard day in work."
"I have the height of personal regard for the Garda Siochana. I appreciate what they are doing."