Sunday 16 December 2018

Gardai called over spat involving Enda Kenny aide's

Taoiseach's parliamentary secretary and Independent councillor embroiled in long-running row

TEAM MAYO: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ger Deere
TEAM MAYO: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Ger Deere
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

GARDAI were called to intervene in a dispute between Taoiseach Enda Kenny's parliamentary secretary and an Independent Mayo county councillor, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

It is understood that "bad blood" between Ger Deere and Independent Mayo councillor Frank Durcan resulted in the gardai being called two weeks ago.

A senior source said there was an exchange of words between the two men in Castlebar which resulted in Mr Durcan contacting his local garda station.

Mr Durcan did not lodge a complaint but gardai were asked to mediate in the long- running dispute.

It is understood gardai called Mr Deere after they were contacted by Mr Durcan.

The matter has since been resolved and there will be no further garda involvement.

"Mr Durcan called gardai and asked if they could speak to Mr Deere after the two clashed in Castlebar," a senior source said.

"There is an awful lot of bad blood between Frank Durcan and Ger Deere. They don't like each other," the source added

"Frank asked gardai to speak with Mr Deere and suggested they do not speak to each other.

"Gardai spoke to Mr Deere and advised they should stay out of each other's hair and nothing more has been said."

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Deere said he wanted "nothing to do" with Mr Durcan and did not want to talk about the garda involvement in their dispute.

"I don't want anything to do with Councillor Durcan because I have had my bellyful of Councillor Durcan," he added.

Mr Durcan said he contacted gardai because he did not want any more future confrontations with Mr Deere.

Separately, Mr Deere recently lodged a complaint with gardai after a staff member working in the Taoiseach's constituency office received a threatening call.

Mr Deere said the call came after Mr Kenny met Mairia Cahill, who has claimed Sinn Fein tried to cover up child sex abuse allegations she made against a senior IRA figure.

Mr Deere said the caller claimed to be a member of Sinn Fein and threatened to find his house and picket outside.

Mr Deere served on the Castlebar Town Council for five years but failed to get selected by his Fine Gael branch before last summer's local elections.

Mr Durcan is a former Fine Gael member and strategist who oversaw a number of Enda Kenny's father Henry's election campaigns.

He fell out with the party in the 1980s and has been an ardent critic of Fine Gael ever since.

Last week, he clashed with his council colleagues when he accused Mayo County Council chief executive Peter Hynes of lying to the council about his knowledge of a Sunday Independent story detailing accusations of planning fraud at an unnamed county council.

Mr Hynes vehemently denied the accusation and called Mr Durcan a "disgrace" for making the accusation in a public forum.

A number of other councillors supported Mr Hynes and called on Mr Durcan to withdraw his remark.

Mr Durcan refused and challenged Mr Hynes to pursue him in the courts.

The Sunday Independent story detailed allegations of bribery and planning fraud made by an unnamed councillor to gardai.

The councillor claimed he was approached by a Fine Gael councillor and asked to stop an investigation into the appointment of a senior local authority figure.

In return, the Fine Gael councillor allegedly told the councillor he would help him secure planning permission for a site he owned.

The garda investigation is ongoing.

Sunday Independent

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