Monday 19 November 2018

Nominee's council backers have no regrets

Debate: Cllr Gerry Flynn said Peter Casey comments were ‘fair’
Debate: Cllr Gerry Flynn said Peter Casey comments were ‘fair’
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A number of councillors who helped Peter Casey get on the ballot paper have said they do not regret giving him their vote, although most said they disagree with his comments.

There was a mixed reaction from local representatives who facilitated Peter Casey's nomination to contest the presidential election. It follows his widely condemned remarks about the Traveller community.

The Irish Independent contacted a number of councillors who proposed or seconded Mr Casey on Tipperary, Kerry, Limerick and Clare county councils.

Only one councillor said they regretted their decision, with most pointing out that they made a decision based on his pitch to the council, and the need for councillors to exercise their democratic vote.

Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill, of Kerry County Council, said he does not regret nominating Mr Casey and said: "There are a lot of the public who will agree with what he is saying, others will not."

The question of whether Mr Casey should withdraw from the race was a "matter entirely for Peter Casey", he said.

"People are entitled to their views," he added.

Michael Sheahan, a Fine Gael councillor who seconded Mr Casey during a special meeting of Limerick City and County Council, said he regrets that decision in light of the businessman's comments.

"He would not have got the nomination if he put that forward as part of his manifesto," he said.

Independent councillor Johnny Healy-Rae in Co Kerry also said he does not agree with the statements made by Mr Casey. But he said he did not regret his role in nominating Mr Casey, noting that the people would decide who to elect on polling day.

Clare councillor Gerry Flynn told Clare FM that Mr Casey's comments had started a debate and were "fair".

"He has opened up a debate that needs to happen because people are running away from it," he said.

Mr Flynn said the council faces high legal bills due to illegal encampments.

Irish Independent

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