Thursday 27 October 2016

Alan Kelly strongly denies he is source of Labour election analysis leak

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Published 30/11/2015 | 08:49

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alan Kelly has denied that he leaked analysis showing the Labour Party at risk of losing more than 20 seats in the General Election.

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Mr Kelly stands accused by party members of putting out the information in order to damage other TDs who might be considered contenders in a future leadership battle.

Over the weekend Labour TDs were quoted as saying there was a "unanimous view" that Mr Kelly was behind the leak.

However, he said today that he is "not aware of such analysis even existing".

"I believe this is a complete storm in a teacup," he said.

Mr Kelly said that he has "of course" asked his staff if they are responsible and "'absolutely not' is the answer".

The analysis, reported in the Irish Independent, dominated debate at a Labour Party meeting last week, with TDs and senators being warned to think carefully about what they say to the media.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin told the meeting that there was a "boil that needs lancing" in the party, while former minister Pat Rabbitte said whoever leaked the information showed "appalling lack of political judgement".

The report gave no chance of re-election to Communications Minister Alex White, junior minister Seán Sherlock and Cork TD Michael McCarthy.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said yesterday that she had spoken to Mr Kelly about the unease in the party but did not believe he was responsible.  “I have been talking to Alan and he, like everybody else, absolutely deplores whoever was responsible for doing that.

“It is difficult to know the motivation of whoever was doing that. I don’t know if it is a single source or whether it is a number of sources.

“It is difficult to make out what their motivation was because they certainly weren’t helping themselves and they were not focusing on getting Labour re-elected," Ms Burton said.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland Mr Kelly, who is the party's director of elections, said that nobody had actually accused him of leaking information in person.

"No one has actually said this directly to me. I'm used to papers taking ink, I'm used to commentary being out there," he said, adding that if the analysis existed he is sure he would be aware of it.

"I believe they [people] will support the Labour Party for the way this country has been turned around. I think this country is in a much better position for having the Labour Party in government," he said.

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