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Fine Gael TD aide's attempt to bury bad news backfires

IT started as a front-page story in a local freesheet, but the attempt by TD Derek Keating's aide literally to bin bad news has brought the story about a local row to a whole new audience.

Tommy Morris's actions have helped spawn a fake 'Derek Bleating' twitter account, left Cabinet ministers laughing and forced Fine Gael to distance itself from 'Papergate'.

Pictures published by the Herald of Mr Morris sweeping up copies of the Lucan Gazette were the talk of Leinster House yesterday.

The story in the Gazette featured a row between Deputy Keating and a local school principal over a school extension.



Tomas O Dulaing, Principal of Griffeen Valley Educate Together, had criticised the Dublin Mid-West TD for claiming he helped secure funding for a new building at his school.

We revealed how, in his eagerness to protect his boss's reputation, Mr Morris removed copies of the offending paper from the local shop in Lucan last Friday.

A Cabinet source said: "There were copies of the Herald being passed around. Most people were laughing. We all get bad press, but nobody has every resorted to dumping newspapers en masse." Officially Fine Gael has attempted to distance itself from the incident.

The party said it "regrets" the actions of Mr Morris, who was caught on CCTV removing dozens of copies of the local free paper from a shop in Lucan, West Dublin.

"Fine Gael regrets Mr Morris's actions.

"The matter is one for his employer, Deputy Derek Keating," said a party spokesperson.

But asked whether action would be taken against Mr Morris, Mr Keating replied: "Absolutely not. He didn't break the law. It's only a freesheet."

Mr Morris claimed to have had a "fit of anger" on noticing the story and dumped dozens of copies of the paper in a bin.

The aide claimed he did "nothing illegal" because it is a "free-sheet".

The Herald understands that the incident infuriated the management of the Centra store.

The outlet is Derek Keating's local shop as the TD and his wife live just minutes away.