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.’