The Emperor’s New Clothes

FG Justice Spokesperson Charlie Flanagan criticised the decision by Gardaí to demand emails relating to the artist who painted nude portraits of Brian Cowen hung in two Dublin galleries.

‘At a time when the majority of gangland murders remain unsolved, to have Gardaí spending their time investigating what amounted to a practical joke that offended the Taoiseach’s ego is a scandalous waste of resources.’

‘Today FM has clearly come under pressure to hand over emails about this matter while RTÉ News was obviously been browbeaten into a grovelling apology. The way this matter has been handled is more reminiscent of Russia in the 1930s than Ireland in 2009.’

‘Freedom of expression is fundamental in a democracy. As politicians, we are frequently subject to unflattering comment and depiction but that is part and parcel of being a politician living in a free society.’

‘The Taoiseach’s over-reaction to what amounted to satire is completely over the top.’

‘I am shocked at the approach taken by the Government and the Gardaí in relation to this issue. I would ask the Taoiseach to focus his attention on the economy and I would ask the Gardaí to focus their attention on crime prevention and detection.’

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