One of the three Independent power brokers aligned to the new Fianna Fáil led Longford Co Council believes he would have been “hung out to dry” unless he signed that deal.
In an open letter to constituents this week, Cllr Gerry Warnock outlined his reasons for signing the much talked about deal.
He said he had been approached by both parties following his election, talks which eventually saw both himself and two other Independents, Mark Casey and Mae Sexton, side with Fianna Fáil.
“I took a long time to decide which course of action I would take and eventually opted to work in collaboration with the Fianna Fáil councillors and the Independent group,” he told voters.
As part of that agreement, Cllr Warnock succeeded in securing a 12 month term as mayor and chairmanship of the council’s Housing Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).
He also sought involvement on a new Local Community Development Committee.
In the days since, the Leader has learned Cllr Warnock believed Fine Gael strategists were eyeing up a deal behind his back.
The terms of that deal, he feared, involved his two fellow non party members thereby giving Fine Gael (with seven elected councillors) control of the council and leaving him on the sidelines.
“When Monday morning came I was starting to get a sixth sense about things,” he said.
“I thought to myself ‘I am not going to sit around and get shafted’ so I arranged to meet Seamus Butler and Johnny Lee and by that afternoon we had an agreement in principle.”
He was keen to stress the fact that neither he or the other two Independent representatives (Mae Sexton and Mark Casey) would have to row in behind Fianna Fáil members on contentious issues.
He explained that his request to seek a term as county mayor, he insisted, was not one driven by financial gain, but rather a desire to press home many of his pre-election objectives.
He said while he can accept those within Fine Gael might feel aggrieved, his conscience is clear.
“The way I see it is this is the best possible deal for Longford town and for me to put my best foot forward for the county of Longford.
“The simple fact of the matter is that politics is a numbers game. I believe that in Longford, as it is a small county, the priority must be to bring Longford town off its knees,” he said.