Tuesday 20 August 2019

TD who resigned from FG will be charged over bar brawl allegations

TD Sean Conlan: resigned from Fine Gael
TD Sean Conlan: resigned from Fine Gael
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Former Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan is expected to be charged in the coming days over an alleged assault in his family pub.

Mr Conlan, who yesterday dramatically resigned from the party, was arrested in September over the alleged incident, which left a man in his 20s needing medical treatment.

At the time, the Cavan Monaghan TD claimed he was injured during the incident and said he was attacked because he was a member of the Government.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he had confidence in Mr Conlan after he was arrested but refused to comment further as the Garda investigation was ongoing.

But the Irish Independent understands Mr Conlan was told by his party that his general election candidacy would not be ratified if he was charged over the alleged assault.

It is also understood Fine Gael secretary general Tom Curran again told Mr Conlan on Monday that he would not be on the party ticket if he was charged over the fracas that took place in the bar in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

Yesterday, Mr Conlan claimed he quit Fine Gael due to the lack of support he received from his party for his campaign against the construction of hundreds of pylons in his constituency. Since he was elected, he has been active in the campaign against Eirgrid's North South Interconnector project.

On his Facebook page, Mr Conlan said he felt "limited" in what he could say about the pylon issue as a member of Fine Gael.

"I have felt limited in what I wanted to say in relation to how the people of Monaghan, Cavan and Meath have been treated in relation to this issue and other issues," he said.

"I now believe I will be unhindered and better able to represent and express the views of the people in an open and fearless manner going forward and will continue to work hard to ensure their best interests are served."

In a later posting, he claimed that Fine Gael "attack dogs" were trying to spin the reasons for his resignation.

He said he was resigning over the issue of the North South Interconnector and because individuals within Fine Gael "were attacking me because of stances I took on various issues and how that was being played out in the media and how certain members of the media were assisting these individuals who wanted to keep me quiet".

"Since my resignation, it is clear to see that the attack dogs within Fine Gael are out, trying to spin the reasons for my resignation into a negative context."

When he was arrested over the assault, Fine Gael members in Mr Conlan's constituency sought to have him removed from the party's ticket for the general election.

However, he was selected at a Fine Gael selection convention along with Arts Minister Heather Humphreys and TD Joe O'Reilly to contest the Cavan Monaghan constituency.

Mr Conlan will not be replaced on the ticket and Fine Gael will now run two candidates in the constituency.

Last year, Mr Conlan clashed with his party's leadership when he publicly criticised Ms Humphreys and the Taoiseach over their handling of the John McNulty Seanad election fiasco. Earlier this year, his former secretarial assistant, Cathy Shevlin, was awarded €25,000 by an Employment Appeal Tribunal amidst claims of bullying. Mr Conlan denied the claims and is appealing the ruling.

Irish Independent

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