'FF accused me of sending Lenihan to grave a broken man... it's absolute rubbish' - Brian Lenihan's private assistant dramatically quits
Brian Lenihan's private assistant has dramatically quit Fianna Fáil, claiming she was accused by party members of sending the late finance minister "to his grave a broken man".
Marian Quinlan, who served as Mr Lenihan's constituency secretary for 16 years, says she has now lost faith in the running of the party and the local Fianna Fáil branch in Dublin West.
Ms Quinlan claims she has been subjected to false rumours by other party members which relate to the decision to add councillor David McGuinness to the party ticket in the 2011 General Election.
She alleges she was falsely accused of causing deep upset and stress to Mr Lenihan prior to his death by recommending that Mr McGuinness be added as a running mate against the wishes of the Cabinet heavyweight.
"I was informed last December, by a member of the party, a member of the organisation here in Dublin West, that I personally sent the late Brian Lenihan to his grave a broken man because I allegedly insisted on having Dave McGuinness on the ticket in the 2011 General Election, which was absolute rubbish as I'm sure you all know," Ms Quinlan said.
Announcing her resignation at a party meeting in Castleknock on Wednesday night, Ms Quinlan claimed Mr Lenihan previously stated that his preference was for Mr McGuinness to be added as his running mate.
"He was the one who chose David McGuinness as his running mate in 2011," Ms Quinlan said.
Ms Quinlan's remarks are recorded in a video of the meeting on Wednesday night which has been obtained by the Irish Independent. Last night, she confirmed her remarks and her decision to quit the party after more than 30 years as a member.
In her address, Ms Quinlan said she had sought explanations as to why she had "apparently upset people" within the party.
"The answer I was given was, because ... they know what you did," she said.
"And what I did apparently was upset Brian and make him cry before he died. Now, I'm sorry, absolute rubbish," she added.
Mr McGuinness narrowly lost out in both the 2011 and 2014 by-elections in Dublin West.
There has been deep friction in Fianna Fáil in Dublin West in recent months after Mr McGuinness was defeated at the party's selection convention by councillor Jack Chambers.
Mr McGuinness has since quit the party and has been very critical of the leadership.
He now intends to contest the election as an independent candidate.
There had been claims that an apparent spike in membership prior to the convention influenced the victory. Fianna Fáil sources have claimed Mr McGuinness is bitter following his defeat.
Ms Quinlan, who is a strong supporter of Mr McGuinness, said her decision to quit had nothing to do with Mr Chambers. But remarking on Mr McGuinness's defeat, Ms Quinlan said party members abandoned the now independent councillor.
"David contested two by-elections. In those two by-elections, he came second. He did extremely well, In the last by-election, he beat Sinn Féin. That is no mean feat in a constituency that is top heavy with lefties and Shinners. David beat them," she told the meeting.