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'Papergate' theft probe aide is back at the Dail

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Tommy Morris

Tommy Morris

Tommy Morris

THE Fine Gael aide being investigated for the alleged theft of hundreds of copies of free newspapers has returned to work at the Dail, the Herald has learned.

Tommy Morris made his first appearance in Leinster House last week since being embroiled in the highly embarrassing 'Papergate' scandal.

Mr Morris is being investigated by gardai after a Dublin newspaper reported him for removing hundreds of copies of its publication from shops in west Dublin.

CCTV footage shows Mr Morris, who is an adviser to Fine Gael TD Derek Keating, lifting bundles of copies of the Lucan Gazette from a number of shops earlier this month.

The incident sparked an internet storm, became the talk of Leinster House and led to a Garda investigation.

Despite also being investigated by his own boss, the Herald has learned that Mr Morris has now returned to work at Leinster House.

He was seen back at his office last week and has told friends that he is desperate to draw a line under the controversy.

"Tommy just wants this forgotten about, it's been very upsetting for him and Derek [Keating] and is highly embarrassing for the party," a well-placed Fine Gael source told the Herald.

"He was back in the Dail this week and intends to carry on his work as a parliamentary assistant."

ARRESTED

Mr Morris targeted a number of shops in the Lucan area in a desperate bid to conceal the local paper's front-page article which detailed a row between Mr Keating and a local school principal.

Tomas O Dulaing, principal of Griffeen Valley Educate Together school, had heavily criticised the politician for claiming he helped secure funding for a new building at the school.

According to Mr O Dulaing, Mr Keating had played no part in delivering the refurbishment works – a claim he disputes.

The row was covered on the front page of the local paper earlier this month, under the headline 'Principal Blasts Keating Leaflet'.

But it is not the first controversy to embroil the colourful Dail aide.

Mr Morris was arrested by gardai during the 1997 presidential campaign on suspicion of leaking confidential Government documents to a newspaper.

He was working at the time as an adviser to Gay Mitchell when the now MEP served as minister for state in the Rainbow Coalition. No charges were ever brought against Mr Morris.

noconnor@herald.ie


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