Kilkenny at centre of turf war between rival FG Euro election candidates
By SINÉAD CONNOLLY
A BITTER turf war has erupted between rival Fine Gael European election candidates in Kilkenny.
KilkennyNow.ie has learned that Ireland South candidate, the Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle, has lodged a formal complaint to the party’s Director of Elections about his colleague, the sitting MEP Sean Kelly.
Doyle’s campaign team, led by Carlow-Kilkenny TD Pat Deering, accuse Kelly of reneging on a deal not to cavass in certain areas, which includes Kilkenny.
Kelly and Doyle previously agreed to divide up the constituency to maximise both candidates’ chances of winning a seat on May 24. Under the arrangement, Doyle would campaign in Kilkenny, where he has family connections, Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow, Laois and Offaly. The rest of Munster was divided up between Fine Gael’s other Ireland South candidates, Sean Kelly and Deirdre Clune.
However, the Doyle camp cried foul after Kelly recently turned at an IFA event in Kilkenny.
Deputy Deering told KilkennyNow.ie: “There is an internal party divide to maximise the possibility of the party getting the maximum number of seats and we have no problem with that, provided everybody is treated the same.
“Last Monday week the IFA held a husting in Kilkenny. Sean Kelly was not meant to be coming and an hour beforehand we were informed he would be arriving. It was supposed to be exclusively for Andrew Doyle. That didn’t turn out to be the case.”
Deputy Deering also said Doyle has been told not to attend a national debate taking place tonight in Cork, which is Deirdre Clune’s campaign area.
“Andrew Doyle was invited, as were all the candidates. Initially we were given permission from the Director of Elections, Charlie Flanagan, that we could go. There were conditions around it, saying we could go to the actual debate, and not be canvassing down there, which was agreeable. And then we were informed the following day that we could not go,” Deputy Deering said.
The Carlow-Kilkenny TD added: “We feel that the rules are being used to suit certain individuals. On behalf of Andrew Doyle I have been dealing with this for the last week or so. We lodged a complaint with the Director of Elections and he has taken it on board. That’s where it is at the minute.”