The Lord Mayor of Dublin has said he refuses to turn an incident that left a homeless man with serious injuries in Dublin into a political football.
Paul McAuliffe accused the Taoiseach of using the incident for “political purposes.”
It is believed the man was sleeping in a tent at Wilton Place on the Grand Canal when workers attempted to move it with a utility vehicle.
He remains at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin where his injuries have been described as “life-changing.”
Leo Varadkar has insisted he has “never sought to make homelessness a party-political issue” after he was criticised for saying that the Cllr McAuliffe was “politically accountable for Dublin City Council” in his role as lord mayor.
Cllr McAuliffe this morning told Susan that his first concern was for the people involved.
“Obviously the gentleman who was injured; the driver of the vehicle that was involved – I imagine he was fairly shocked – and those people involved in the operation,” he said.
“There was obviously a very genuine mistake here. There was no intention to cause harm.”
He said Mr. Varadkar’s reaction was “targeted for political purposes” and moved to defend his own party leader Micheál Martin for criticizing the Taoiseach.
“It was put to him in the press conference and Micheál’s first reaction was, ‘that is not how I do politics,’” he said.
“I think that is true and I think that shows the difference between Micheál Martin as a man and Leo Varadkar as a Taoiseach.
“I think that will be the big question in this election, who do we want to be our Taoiseach for the next five years?
“I can’t imagine Micheál Martin ever making that comment – partially because he is a former lord mayor himself and he knows the role is largely ceremonial.”