Fianna Fail TD Michael Kennedy was heckled by a crowd of angry pensioners outside the gates of Leinster House yesterday.
The former Dublin footballer and hurler — and now a TD for Dublin North — was the only member of his party to engage at length with some of the 15,000 people who turned up to protest.
Exchanges became heated as he tried to explain the changes to the medical card scheme for over-70s, saying only “millionaires” would lose their cards.
Mr Kennedy went on the offensive against one of his chief critics, Sinn Fein member Danny O’Connor (63), who had accused him of robbing the elderly.
“You guys robbed the banks. Bring Sinn Fein into power and they will rob the banks and give you money,” Mr Kennedy said.
But Mr O’Connor, whose son Shane is a Dublin-based Sinn Fein councillor, hit back by saying “at least we wore balaclavas”.
“As one robber to another, you’re better than I ever was,” he said.
Mr Kennedy struggled on for a half hour amid shouts of “Go home” and “You’re talking rubbish” from some pensioners.