Deputy James Bannon (FG) has refuted allegations tonight that a member of his canvassing team stole Sinn Fein literature from letterboxes in a housing estate in Ballymahon earlier today.
Speaking to the Leader, Deputy Bannon said that when the incident occurred he was not in the immediate vicinity.
“I understand a member of my canvass team was reading a leaflet and immediately replaced it,” the local TD stated, adding that “It was a simple misunderstanding.”
“When a Garda car arrived after a period of time, I sat in to the patrol car voluntarily to clarify the situation.”
Deputy Bannon’s version of events differs from that of Cllr Paul Hogan (SF) who claims that a member of Bannon’s campaign team was spotted taking leaflets out of letter boxes at Creevagh Beg in Ballymahon.
The guards arrived at the Creevagh Beg estate on the outskirts of the town after Cllr Hogan’s team confronted a Bannon canvasser whose pockets, they claimed, were full of Sinn Féin Literature.
“One of the teams rang me then to say they were finishing up in Creevagh Beg and there was an elderly lady in one of the houses there that was insistent on seeing me,” he explained.
The local Sinn Féin candidate made his way to the estate only to be met by one of his team members who said they had been sitting in the car waiting for Cllr Hogan, and while there, they say they observed a Fine Gael canvasser take literature from letterboxes in the estate.
“They observed one of James Bannon’s team taking leaflets out of the letterboxes,” fumed Hogan who then confronted the individual.
“His pockets were bulging and he admitted to me that he had my literature and then he took off across the estate.”
Deputy Bannon then entered the estate and Cllr Hogan explained what was after happening and pointed to the ‘dirty tricks campaign’ that the current TD was running.
“I told him I was going to call the guards and I did that,” added the local area representative in Athlone.
“The person that took the literature and then ran away has 24 hours to apologise to me and to give back my literature,” Cllr Hogan said.