Saturday 27 December 2014

Kenneth Egan dismisses claims he is being exploited by Fine Gael

Published 11/02/2014 | 12:24

Former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan already had his election literature ready to go yesterday when he declared his intention to run for Fine Gael. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan already had his election literature ready to go yesterday when he declared his intention to run for Fine Gael. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Kenneth Egan
Kenneth Egan with Minister for Children and youth affairs, Francis Fitzgerald, TD

OLYMPIC hero Kenneth Egan has dismissed suggestions by his former manager that Fine Gael is using him to secure a council seat.

The silver medallist today reacted to claims that Fine Gael has asked him to run in the local elections because of his high profile.

Egan's former advisor, Ken Bogle, said he warned the sportsman from entering politics and that he fears he will eventually be dropped by Fine Gael.

Bogle has strong Fianna Fáil roots and is a former advisor to Bertie Ahern.

Reacting to the remarks this morning, Egan said: "I'm a big boy now, he [Bogle] has been great over the years...We've worked well over the last ten, twelve years, I hope we'll keep the relationship going."

Egan said he has been at the receiving end of negative messages on twitter since he was unveiled as a Fine Gael candidate, with some users telling him that he "hasn't a clue about politics".

But the 32-year-old insisted that it will not be "the end of the world" if he fails to secure a seat in May's elections.

"All I can do is my best, knock on the doors and canvass. If I don't get the seat, I don't get the seat, it's not the end of the world. But it's something I have an interest in - helping in the local area - that's something I'm interested in."

Speaking to independent.ie today, Egan’s close personal friend and former advisor Ken Bogle said he believes Fine Gael may be using Egan’s name and feels he should have got into politics through another path.

“I fear than Ken  has been exploited,” he told independent.ie.

“I steered clear of this because I believe it’s a personal  decision, Alex Ferguson doesn’t go into Old Trafford and ask Ryan Giggs who he’s voting for.

“I think running as an independent would have suited him better. Fine Gael is not a party of sport. Last year Richard Bruton handed out €900,000 in sports grants in his constituency –just €7,250 went to boxing.

“He came to me two weeks and told me he was thinking of running for Fine Gael and that he was has spoken to Frances Fitzgerald and I told him I wouldn’t vote for Fine Gael.

“I have a new nickname for him of ‘Kenny the Blueshirt’ and we laugh about it.

“I have the height of respect for anyone who runs for political office and the office of the Taosieach. It’s a thankless task.

“I think that if I was someone who was working for Fine Gael in Clondalkin, I’d be a sick person, with someone parachuted in over their heads.”

On the likelihood of Egan’s bid being successful, Bogle added: “Ken has the capabilities of winning a seat but in terms of towing the party line and being told how he should vote on issues, he may struggle. He’s naive and he’s not a political animal.

“He’s not politically savvy but he is certainly streetwise. There are no flies on Kenneth Egan.

“I think the idea has been sold to him.”

If the Taoiseach really means what he says he should make Ken an ambassador of sport for Ireland

By Niall O'Connor and Cormac Byrne

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