Thursday 22 August 2019

Fine Gael held off printing Conlan election posters over assault charge

Cutting ties: Sean Conlan in happier times with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Heather Humphreys TD on a walk-about in Cavan
Cutting ties: Sean Conlan in happier times with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Heather Humphreys TD on a walk-about in Cavan
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Fine Gael held off printing Sean Conlan's General Election posters pending the outcome of a Garda investigation into an alleged assault involving the controversial TD.

Mr Conlan dramatically quit Fine Gael last week claiming he could no longer back the party as it was not supporting his opposition to the construction of pylons in his constituency.

However, it is understood Mr Conlan will be charged over the alleged assault in his family bar this week and was told by his party that his selection would not be ratified if he is charged.

Due to uncertainty over the case, Fine Gael's election team in the region decided not to order election posters or campaign leaflets for the constituency.

"Most Fine Gael candidates have their posters but we held off printing any for Cavan/Monaghan because of the possibility of a charge," a party source said.

"After Sean quit we put in the order almost straightaway," the source added.

Fine Gael has no plans to replace him on the ticket and will run Arts Minister Heather Humphreys and Joe O'Reilly in the five-seat constituency.

Mr Conlan quit Fine Gael on Tuesday claiming Fine Gael "attacks dogs" were trying to put a "negative spin" on his reason for leaving the party.

He said he felt "limited" in what he could say about Eirgrid's North South Interconnector pylon project as a member of Fine Gael.

He made the announcement the day after Fine Gael Monaghan County Councillor Hugh McElvaney also resigned from the party over the same issue.

Senior Fine Gael figures last week said Mr Conlan told them he expected to be charged over the assault days before he made his announcement.

He was arrested by gardai in August after the alleged altercation in his family pub in Ballybay, Co Monaghan. The incident resulted in a man in his 20s needing medical treatment.

Mr Conlan said he also needed medical attention and claimed he was attacked because he was a Government TD.

Gardai sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) after interviewing a number of witnesses.

Sunday Independent

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