Saturday 26 May 2018

Michael Lowry: Minister Alan Kelly’s decision to categorically rule me out of coalition 'smacks of his customary arrogance'

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry
Environment Minister Alan Kelly. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Kevin Doyle and Geraldine Gittens

Independent TD Michael Lowry has said his constituency colleague Alan Kelly’s decision to “categorically” rule him out of the next government “smacks of his customary arrogance”.

Mr Lowry launched a sting attack on the Labour Party deputy leader today, saying he has “jumped on the bandwagon”.

And he said that “threats and innuendo” from Alan Kelly will not decide the formation of the next government.

"In relation to Alan Kelly, I’d just say that his comments smack of his customary arrogance. Effectively what he’s trying to do is circumvent the will of the Tipperary people.”

"The bottom line is that thankfully we have a democracy, elections are due, and elections are about the people have their say and electing their representatives,” he said.

“It’s not the media, it’s not the political pundits. It’s not threats and innuendo from Alan Kelly that will make the decision, it’s the people who will make the decision known.”

“I haven’t at any stage spoken to any political party about any alliances or any pacts or any agreements after the election.”

Speaking on his local radio station, Tipp FM, Mr Lowry hit out at the speculation around his involvement in coalition talks after the election.

Since Saturday politicians from Fine Gael and the Labour Party have faced repeated questions as to whether they would rule seeking Mr Lowry’s support to prop up a minority government.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton have continuously attempted to sidestep the question but Mr Kelly broke ranks, telling today’s Irish Independent: “Just to be categorical on it, the Labour Party would never work with or ask for the support of anyone like Michael Lowry.”

The Moriarty Report found that Mr Lowry conferred benefit on businessmen Denis O’Brien, who made or facilitated payments to the former Communications Minister.

There were no findings that Mr Lowry benefited from payments and Mr Lowry has rejected the findings.

Responding to Mr Kelly’s comments today, Mr Lowry said: “I’m not going to be presumptuous by thinking I’m going to be one of the five representatives for Tipperary.”

He said he hasn’t spoken to any political party about a deal, but said he does believe independents will hold the balance of power after the election.

“The people of Tipperary know me. They know my character. They know my personality. They know my background. They have been reading this for 20 years,” he said.

However, he added: “You don’t expect to be harangued in public by one of your constituency colleagues.”

He said Mr Kelly is suffering from “a bit of delusion”.

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