Thursday 21 September 2017

FG has no record of Peelo's 'lifelong membership'

Des Peelo
Des Peelo

Fionnan Sheahan and Lise Hand

FINE Gael figures have expressed surprise at an associate of former Taoisigh Charlie Haughey and Bertie Ahern claiming to be "lifelong member" of the party.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he is going to "check to see" if accountant Des Peelo, a former chairman of the Central Remedial Clinic, was a party member.

Mr Peelo stated he was a lifelong member of Fine Gael as he rejected claims by Independent TD Shane Ross of being part of a "Fianna Fail cabal" at the CRC.

But a Fine Gael spokesman told the Irish Independent it has no record of Mr Peelo (pictured) being a member on its electronic database, which dates back 20 years to 1993.

Mr Peelo, a respected accountant, represented both Mr Haughey and Mr Ahern at tribunals examining their personal finances. He lives in the Dublin North-East constituency.

But Fine Gael members there have no recollection of him being a member of the party.

"He's not a member of any branch and nor has he ever been in my time," a party member said.

A long-standing party figure did remember a former candidate saying in the early 1980s that Mr Peelo was a Fine Gael supporter, but there was never any evidence to support this assertion. "Of course, you don't know how people vote," the party member said.

Mr Kenny was asked if he knew of Mr Peelo's status as a lifelong member of his party.

"I can't answer that for you. I think he was also a professional acquaintance of former Taoiseach Haughey for a very long time. I'm not sure – I'll check to see if he is. To be honest with you, I don't know," he said.

Mr Peelo did not respond to calls from the Irish Independent last night.

In an interview on 'Today with Sean O'Rourke', Mr Peelo said:"And, by the way, just to lighten the moment, Shane Ross has included me as some Fianna Fail cabal because of my obvious friendships with Bertie Ahern and Charlie Haughey. Just speaking personally to get my dig in back at him, I have been a lifelong member of Fine Gael."

Irish Independent

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