Sunday 23 October 2016

'It would be very hard to hide me' - Alan Kelly rejects suggestions he adopted low key approach to election campaign

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

Published 18/02/2016 | 12:41

Alan Kelly signing the election order with a Thomas Adlum pen
Alan Kelly signing the election order with a Thomas Adlum pen

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has rejected suggestions he has adopted a low key approach to the General Election campaign.

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It’s been claimed the Labour Party has tried to limit the role played by its deputy leader due to concerns over his popularity.

The Tipperary TD was embroiled in controversy earlier this month after it was claimed he was involved in a verbal bust-up with ‘Newstalk’ broadcaster Chris Donoghue.

He was also accused of trying to hide from water protesters in an election vehicle belonging to his constituency colleague Mattie McGrath. Mr McGrath later rowed back on the claims.

Speaking as he arrived for this morning’s Cabinet meeting, which discussed the sole issue of a potential ‘Brexit’, Mr Kelly rejected suggestions that he is adopting a low key approach.

“It would be very hard to hide me so I don't think I've been quiet at all. I will be playing a very, very definitive role in the campaign in the coming week,” Mr Kelly told reporters.

Read more: Tanaiste defends Alan Kelly's absence at Childcare launch following 'power is a drug' interview

Meanwhile, Government figures today ramped up their attacks on Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein as polling day edges closer.

Mr Kelly accused Sinn Fein of hypocrisy over its proposals on Universal Social Charge (USC).

“Five years ago, Sinn Fein committed to getting rid of the USC. Now they are not touching it, for everyone earning the average industrial wage, there will be no impact whatsoever for them under Sinn Fein's policies,” Mr Kelly said.

Agriculture and Defence Minister SImon Coveney accused Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin of misleading voters in relation to its election promises. He also said Fianna Fail has no real jobs plan.

“When Micheal Martin is effectively trying to mislead people, then we have to correct the record.”

Meanwhile, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said he believes Labour will have a “very fine showing” on election day.

“The last opinion poll had us on nine per cent. Twill increase and I think that we will have a very fine showing on the day. The final question people will ask on the issues of policy and past the real question people will address in the final days of campaign is who do they want, who do they trust to bring the country on path of recovery to bring real change to support themselves and family.”

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