Minister for Waterworks: Kelly fights back tears as he distances himself from election leak allegations
Labour Party deputy leader Alan Kelly fought back tears as he completely distanced himself from the alleged leaking of analysis that claimed the party is facing the prospect of losing 20 seats at the General Election.
Mr Kelly told the Labour Parliamentary party 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.
The Tipperary TD raised the issue of the alleged leak last night after it sparked paranoia and hysteria within the party.
Several sources at the meeting confirmed that Mr Kelly became emotional as he urged the party to re-unite ahead of the General Election.
The reporting of the analysis, which claimed that Labour could end up with just 10 seats after the election, sparked uproar within the party, led by Tánaiste Joan Burton.
A number of TDs and ministers, without any evidence, said they suspected Mr Kelly and his team of being responsible for the material, which was reported in a number of newspapers including the Irish Independent.
But speaking at last night's meeting, Mr Kelly completely dismissed any notion of being behind the media reports.
And he said Fine Gael stole a march on the party this week by continuously putting out policy ideas while Labour was fixated with the alleged leak.
"Kelly became tearful at one stage and said the finger pointing at him and his team was completely without foundation," said a source at the meeting,
At the meeting, Labour TDs also expressed concern that the party is failing to "sell its message" to the electorate.