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School principal in Keating newspapers row denies political agenda

THE school principal involved in a row with Dublin TD Derek Keating has denied he has a political agenda, as gardai were called to investigate the disappearance of some 3,000 local newspapers.

The controversy – which was first reported by the Herald earlier this week – has deepened after Tomas O Dulaing, the school principal of Griffeen Valley Education Together school in Lucan, admitted he is a member of the United Left Alliance.

Mr O Dulaing said he had not sought to hide his membership of the ULA and strongly rejected that he had a political agenda against the Fine Gael Dail Deputy.

His accusation that Keating, a TD for Dublin Mid-West, claimed credit for a school extension he had nothing to do with should be “judged on its own merit”, Mr O Dulaing said.

“I'm a member of the United Left,” the principal told the Today with Pat Kenny radio programme.

“It's not something I'm anxious to hide or anything like that. When somebody comes out and makes claims in relation to a building that they had nothing to do with, surely that can be judged on its own merit.”

The principal's accusations were published in last week’s edition of the local Lucan Gazette newspaper under the headline ‘Principal Blasts Keating’s leaflet’.

The freesheet was delivered to a number of local shops in Lucan – Mr Keating's aide Tommy Morris was shown on CCTV footage removing hundreds of copies of the paper from shops in the area.

The row started after Mr O Dulaing took issue with Mr Keating’s claim he had “initiated and delivered” an extension for the Educate Together school.

This morning, Pat Kenny read out a letter from Mr Keating which said: “To state I had nothing to do with the extension at Griffeen Valley national school is totally incorrect.

“It is a fact and it is recorded that I had ongoing negotiations with the Minister's officials at the time that a review was taking place in relation to the school extensions in Lucan.

The apparent attempt by his advisor Tommy Morris to bury bad news has now resulted in a full garda investigation.

Deputy Keating was left red-faced after the Herald were the first to publish pictures of his Dail aide lifting dozens of copies of a local freesheet from a newsagents in order to conceal a negative front-page story.

The bizarre images of Mr Morris sweeping up copies of the Lucan Gazette caused a Twitter storm and was picked up yesterday by The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade.

In a statement, Gazette Newspapers accused Mr Morris of sweeping “substantial numbers” of the paper from several shops last week and said the matter is now under garda investigation.

Neither Mr Keating nor Mr Morris returned calls.

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