Saturday 22 October 2016

'Sometimes you feel Fine Gael is not supporting you' - TD Sean Conlan dramatically quits the party

Philip Ryan & Kevin Doyle

Published 24/11/2015 | 15:01

TD Sean Conlan
TD Sean Conlan

FINE Gael TD Sean Conlan has sensationally decided to quit his party with just months to go before the general election.

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Mr Conlan told his local radio station Northern Sound in the Cavan/Monaghan constituency he will run as an Independent in the forthcoming election.

Mr Conlan said he is leaving because of Fine Gael’s failure to listen to his constituent’s views on the North South Interconnector pylon project, which will see hundreds of pylons constructed in his constituency.

“You feel that you represent your party as best you can. My father,  my grandfather were all involved in Fine Gael and you are always proud to be involved in Fine Gael and represent Fine Gael but sometimes you feel Fine Gael is not supporting you,” he said.

“I am Fine Gael in my heart and have been all my life but I feel in this instance the individuals at the top didn’t listen to us on the ground in terms of what we want to do.  And in terms of this project alone, the North South interconnector. I don’t think they have listened to us,” he added.

“So I believe it is very important for me personally to be true to myself and go out there and represent the views of the people in Monaghan and in Cavan from now on as Independent.”

Monaghan Fine Gael councillor Hughie McElvaney resigned from the party over the same issue yesterday.

Mr Conlan clashed with his party over the past year and senior sources said he did not reveal his decision to quit to party headquarters before making the shock announcement.

Mr Conlan is currently awaiting the decision of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) which is examining a garda file on an alleged assault involving the TD.

In August, he was arrested and questioned over the alleged assault which resulted in a man in his 20s receiving medical treatment.

A number of witnesses along with the injured man also gave statements to gardai following the incident.

Mr Conlan released a statement after the incident claiming he was attacked during the row and sustained injuries.

He alleged he was attacked because he was a Government TD.

Monaghan Fine Gael members sought to have the controversial deputy removed from the party’s general election ticket after it emerged he was involved in the alleged pub attack.

However, he was selected to run for the party alongside Art Minister Heather Humphreys and Cavan TD Joe Reilly.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny backed Mr Conlan after the pub fracas but said he could not comment on an ongoing garda investigation.

In a statement this evening Fine Gael said it has noted Mr Conlan’s decision to resign and wished him well for the future.

“Fine Gael continues to have a strong team in Cavan/Monaghan with Minister Heather Humphreys and Joe O’Reilly TD. The party will run a vigorous campaign in the constituency to allow us to continue our work to keep the recovery going,” the party said.

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