Gardai to probe Limerick councillor’s ‘cut throat’ threat

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

John Loftus of the Anti Austerity Alliance celebrates his election to the local council last May. He has been to 'step aside' as a councillor by the party following comments he made online in recent days
THE Limerick branch of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) has asked Cllr John Loftus to “step aside” as a councillor.

THE Limerick branch of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) has asked Cllr John Loftus to “step aside” as a councillor.

It comes after the City West representative threatened to ‘cut the throat’ of a fellow anti-water charges activist.

The party held a meeting last night - which Cllr Loftus did not attend - where it was decided by a majority to ask the newly elected member to step down.

In a statement issued immediately afterwards, the Limerick AAA stated: “The AAA branch has requested John Loftus to step aside as a councillor, otherwise we no longer consider him a member of the AAA.”

A statement from Limerick AAA said that Cllr Loftus’s behaviour has been “a catastrophic misjudgment for a public representative”.

They said it had brought both the council and the AAA into disrepute.

“Activists felt that anything less than resignation as a councillor would not really be credible given the strong opposition in the community to threats, intimidation and violence, and would leave a question mark as to whether Cllr Loftus or the AAA really treated this situation with the seriousness it deserves.

“The meeting also felt that the qualified apology which Cllr. Loftus offered in the media yesterday demonstrated that he has indeed failed to register the seriousness of the situation. There is no context that justifies the threats he made.”

It comes as gardai launch an investigation into the threat, issued by Cllr Loftus on Sunday night.

Yesterday, Cllr Loftus apologised for “a rush of blood to the brain”, and insisted he had “no animosity” towards Greg Doran.

He wrote: “I tried to be nice. The next time I see you, I’ll cut your f****n throat. Insult me and you are dead”.

Mr Doran confirmed he had made a complaint to the gardai, adding: “I was shocked to be honest with you. I am Limerick born and bred, and for that to be said by a councillor, it is not something we need to hear.”

Asked if he regretted making the comments - which were sent at 3.30am - Cllr Loftus said: “Absolutely. I totally apologise. I was just weary and tired from him. I have never hurt anyone. I have had cross words with people at times, but never done more than this. I am an honest and genuine men. I am not some thug, like Greg or anyone else might want to say.”

Cllr Loftus said he has known Mr Doran for two years, having first met at a demonstration. The two had “a camaraderie,” he added.

But recently, Cllr Loftus said Mr Doran had “taken it upon himself to start attacking the AAA as being a mouthpiece for the Socialist party.”

He said: “I have never been a political party member my whole life, and never will be.”

He said he met with Mr Doran recently in a bid to try and make peace with him. Even at a demonstration in June, he said there was “not one element of animosity”.

Before last night’s meeting, Cllr Loftus said he wanted to remain both a councillor and an AAA representative.

“The people of City West elected me, and I want to represent every single person in the area. I think I have done well so far considering I had never been a councillor in my life.”