Saturday 22 October 2016

'You’re only a two out of ten' – Journalist rates Kerry councillor and he’s not happy about it

Amy Molloy

Published 07/10/2016 | 17:02

Fianna Fail Councillor Tom McEllistrim
Fianna Fail Councillor Tom McEllistrim

A Kerry Councillor has hit back at a journalist who recently gave him two out of ten after rating all councillors in the Kingdom.

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Fianna Fail Councillor Tom McEllistrim defended himself on RTÉ’s Liveline today after Kerry Eye journalist Aidan O’Connor said he has a poor attendance record at council meetings.

“Of all the 33 current councillors in Kerry, Tom McEllistrim is without a doubt the worst,” Mr O’Connor claimed.

The two became embroiled in a tit-for-tat debate as the Councillor accused Mr O’Connor of having an agenda due to his Fine Gael background.

“Aidan was a Fine Gael candidate. He was an unsuccessful candidate at that so I wonder would he be a really good judge anyway.

“You have to see what background he is coming from and judge that. I wouldn’t take a lot of notice of him at all,” he said.

Mr O’Connor responded by pointing out that two years ago Fine Gael wanted to meet with him to discover why they were getting such unfair coverage by the journalist.

“I met with Sinn Féin about a year ago and there was a decision to only communicate with me by email.

“I’m either doing something half wrong or half right,” he said.

Mr McEllistrim claimed he has done a lot of good work in Tralee, listing off achievements such as building a new school and fundraising for a new tennis court and athletic track.

But O’Connor stated his ratings were based on speaking time and attendance at council meetings.

“Even when he was a Dail deputy between 2002 and 2007, when you did an audit of him speaking, he spoke for an average of 8 minutes a year.”

The journalist appeared to be a fan of the Healy-Rae’s, with both Johnny Healy-Rae and Maura Healy-Rae getting a 9/10.

By the end of the discussion on Liveline, the two appeared to be on amicable terms after their civil war of words.

“He is a very decent man, without a doubt,” O’Connor said.

Joe Duffy then decided to move on, saying “I don’t want to set you two up on a first date or anything.”

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