Tuesday 20 March 2018

'The amount of Mass cards, bouquets... candles that have been lit' - Fine Gael TD John Perry thanks constituents for support

Sligo-Leitrim TD John Perry outside the High Court. Photo: Courtpix
Sligo-Leitrim TD John Perry outside the High Court. Photo: Courtpix

Niall O'Connor and John Downing

FINE Gael TD John Perry says he received mass cards and had church candles lit by constituents who supported his efforts to secure a Fine Gael nomination.

Mr Perry today said he feels "vindicated" after his bitter legal row with the party was settled out of court today.

In a dramatic twist, Taoiseach Enda Kenny will recommend to the party's National Executive that the Sligo/Leitrim TD be added.

The recommendation will be accepted tomorrow - after both parties struck a deal following a High Court case that lasted five days.

Speaking on the plinth of the Dail this evening, Mr Perry thanked God for the decision, adding that he has had candles lit by supporters in recent weeks.

"The amount of Mass cards and bouquets and candles that have been lit. People that know John Perry know I fight for my constituents, it's true to form of John Perry that I felt wrong was done, incorrect actions were taken and I just could not rest with myself without taking the actions I took," Mr Perry told reporters.

"And I would like to thank God for this day. This day is a day for justice in ensuring people who have genuine beliefs in their faiths, had mass boquets offered and candles lit and I respect that," he added.

The case was instigated by Mr Perry on several grounds. Firstly, he claimed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny had given a commitment that all sitting Oireachtas members would be allowed to defend their seats.

But he also claimed that the selection convention was plagued by irregularities.

During the High Court case, Mr Perry claimed that Fine Gael General Secretary Tom Curran "danced with rage" when the TD complained a sister of a rival had been seen putting a number of votes into a ballot box at the convention.

Mr Perry said during the convention in a ballroom in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, on October 16 last, another party member told him to go into the voting area as he had just seen Ita Reynolds, sister of one of the two winning candidates, Gerry Reynolds, putting four votes into a ballot box. He was met by Mr Curran "who said to me 'get out', that I was canvassing".

Mr Perry replied he had just been told four votes had been put into the box "and it would be more in his f***ing line to check what was going on in the voting area".

At this, Mr Curran "danced with rage on the floor", Mr Perry said in front of the court.

Today, Mr Perry declined on two occasions to express his confidence i Fine Gael's General Secretary Tom Curran.

He said there now needs to be a greater divide between the decision making of party headquarters and elected members.

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