Fine Gael Senator and General Election candidate, Colm Burke, is confident that an incident which saw his office vandalised is not connected to the theft of hundreds of his posters.
However, Mr Burke said that no candidate should have to put up with such issues.
On Sunday evening, Mr Burke’s office, located in an old post office in Blackpool on the northside of Cork city, had its windows smashed in. A brick was thrown through one window, with several stones used to break a second pane of glass.
The brick was “thrown with force” and knocked a chunk out of the wall, he said.
Mr Burke was contacted by a local businessperson who saw the incident unfolding and contacted the gardaÃ.
“I have never had to put up with anything like this in previous campaigns,” he said.
Mr Burke has run a number of times for Fine Gael since the 1980s. Most recently, he contested the by-election in November 2019.
Separately, since the general election campaign started, Mr Burke said “at least 250” of his election posters have been stolen.
Many of these have reappeared in areas where they shouldn’t have, he added.
He recalled one incident in which a Farranree resident called him at 7.30pm one evening to say that two men were outside her house on a ladder, removing Fine Gael posters.
“I don’t believe the incidents are connected,” he said.
“But posters are being targeted in city areas; some of them are being removed within 12 hours of being put up.”
Mr Burke said he doesn’t know who is behind the incidents or why he is being targeted.
There has been an outpouring of support for Mr Burke in the wake of the incidents.
Responding to a tweet showing the damage to his constituency office, Fine Gael colleague Simon Coveney said: “Don’t be intimidated by this kind of thuggery… This should not be part of elections or politics.”
Stay strong @SenColmBurke, donât be intimidated by this kind of thuggery. @FineGael is a party that represents everyone, from all walks of life, we listen to frustrations & criticism and respond as best we can. But this should not be part of elections or politics.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) January 19, 2020
Tony Fitzgerald, a former Lord Mayor of Cork and Fianna FÃ¡il candidate in Cork North-Central, also offered his support, describing the damage as”unacceptable”.
GardaÃ are investigating the matter.
“GardaÃ attended an incident of criminal damage at a property on Thomas Davis Street, Blackpool, Co. Cork on Sunday, January 19 at approximately 8:10pm,” a garda spokesperson said.
“No one was injured during the incident. No arrests made and investigations are ongoing.”