Friday 25 May 2018

FG chief denies he put pressure on councillor over case

Tom Curran. Pic Tom Burke
Tom Curran. Pic Tom Burke
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran "categorically denies" putting a party councillor under pressure so he would not appear at a court case involving former minister John Perry.

Mr Curran was asked to address the growing controversy at a meeting of Fine Gael's trustees, during which he refuted the allegations being levelled by Mr Perry and Sligo councillor Hugh Keaney.

A source close to the trustees told the Irish Independent the allegations have caused "concern" within the party and that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described them privately as a "distraction".

But the senior figure insisted there would be no repercussions for Mr Curran unless those making the allegations can produce "evidence" to support their claims. "At the moment it's a case of one word against the other and as trustees, there's very little action we can take," the source said.

Read more: Perry claims may haunt Fine Gael as focus turns to role of councillor

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday voiced his concerns but said it is a matter for the party's national exeucutive.

The trustees have in recent days written to both Mr Keaney and Mr Perry and said the matter is with their legal advisors.

Mr Keaney has yet to speak publicly about the issue but has told colleagues that he has "phone records" to back up his claims that he was put under pressure not to appear as a witness. The case was settled after six days leaving Fine Gael saddled with costs of around €500,000.

Irish Independent

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