Former minister Sean Haughey has rejected claims that an “old boys’ friendship” with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was a factor in the decision to add him to the general election ticket.
Mr Haughey insisted he never spoke to Mr Martin about being added to the ticket in Dublin Bay North, and that the pair’s relationship was purely professional.
And he said he believed his running mate and Dublin City Council colleague Deirdre Heney was probably suffering from a case of “electionitis” after she angrily lashed out at Mr Martin over the move.
Ms Heney insists the decision to add Mr Haughey, who she defeated at the recent selection convention, could scupper
Fianna Fáil’s chances of taking a seat.
On two occasions yesterday, Ms Heney refused to declare her full confidence in Mr Martin in a move that has stunned senior party figures.
But speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Haughey said he did not want to engage in “public squabbles” with Ms Heney, who he said was suffering from “electionitis”.
“It has just been a little bit of what I call ‘electionitis’. But now it’s time to move on and start the campaign,” Mr Haughey said.
“Public squabbles like this are very off-putting for the public … All concerned need to move on as quickly as possible.”
Mr Haughey also rejected suggestions Mr Martin put him forward because of a friendship.
“Micheál Martin has not been involved in this candidate selection process at all. He has left it entirely to the constituencies committee of the National Executive,” he said.
“I don’t want to be a Judas …We were all in Ógra Fianna Fáil in the 1980s and it was purely a political friendship,” he said.
He said it was correct to say they were not social friends.
“I haven’t spoken to him at all about this. There has been no contact. Any contact has been with party headquarters at their instigation,” he said.
He also claimed that Ms Heney had been added to his own general election ticket in 2002.
“Deirdre Heney has been added to the ticket by party headquarters on two occasions – in a general election and in a local election by Bertie Ahern,” he said.