Monday 5 December 2016

How Fine Gael's central asset became a liability

Enda's disloyalty to Flannery represents a more general shirking of responsibility.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 13/04/2014 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with former Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery

The Taoiseach seemed to be channeling the spirit of President Bill Clinton in the Dail last week when, in response to questions about a former CEO of troubled charity Rehab, he only just stopped short of saying: "I did not have personal relations with that man."

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"That man" isn't just any man. He's Frank Flannery, who we now know received, either in his own name or through his firm Laragh Consultancy, a total of over €409,000 between 2007 and 2013 for consultancy work undertaken on behalf of Rehab, the organisation of which he was once director.

The Taoiseach made it clear that he did not approve of charities and other organisations in receipt of public money paying professional consultants to lobby politicians. What he was less forthcoming about was the fact that Frank Flannery and Fine Gael have been practically joined together like Siamese twins for years. Flannery's involvement goes right back to the days of Garret FitzGerald.

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