Tuesday 24 April 2018

A politician who gets emotional is showing 'level of spirit' - Kelly

Alan Kelly
Alan Kelly

Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan

Environment Minister Alan Kelly says a politician who becomes "emotional" over a particular issue is also displaying a "certain level of spirit".

Mr Kelly made the remark after it was revealed he fought back tears at the Labour Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday night.

The Labour Party deputy leader choked up as he addressed his party colleagues over the alleged leak of an analysis claiming the party faces 20 lost seats at the election.

Mr Kelly told the party meeting that both he and his staff had "fingers pointed at them all week", adding that the controversy allowed Fine Gael to steal a step on Labour in relation to policy issues.

He has completely denied any part in the alleged leak.

Several sources at the meeting confirmed that Mr Kelly became emotional as he urged the party to re-unite ahead of the general election.

And speaking in Dublin, the Tipperary TD said there is nothing wrong with that.

"Firstly, that's a private meeting so none of us who are members of the parliamentary party will be referring to what happened inside a private meeting," Mr Kelly said.

"But I will just say this: I don't think necessarily if someone got emotional during a meeting, that that's particularly a bad thing. I think that shows a certain level of spirit and interest in the topic.

"But it's a private meeting so obviously we don't discuss what happens inside."

Meanwhile, he also admitted to "tensions" between government departments over the introduction of controversial planning guidelines for the wind energy industry.

But Mr Kelly said he is confident that the Government will produce details of a new set-back distance for wind turbines prior to the general election.

The new rules are expected to increase the minimum distance between turbines and private residences. The current distance is 500m.

Wind energy companies are also expected to be stopped from constructing mega-windmills higher than 170m.

There is rising public frustration over the issue which is affecting many parts of rural Ireland - including Mr Kelly's homeland of north Tipperary.

Irish Independent

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