Fine Gael has hit back at claims the party was deliberately negotiating behind the back of an Independent councillor in a bid to maintain control of Longford Co Council, writes Liam Cosgrove.
Cllrs Peggy Nolan and Micheal Carrigy said they had been left stunned by claims made by Cllr Gerry Warnock that Fine Gael were attempting to ‘shaft’ him from any prospective deal.
In the article, Cllr Warnock said he had no regrets about turning down an approach by Fine Gael by going into a power sharing agreement with Fianna Fail.
Both he and fellow Independents Mark Casey and Mae Sexton did likewise, bringing an end to 15 years of Fine Gael led local government.
In the days since however, government party members led by Cllr Nolan and Cllr Carrigy have come out strongly to repudiate allegations made by Cllr Warnock.
Cllr Nolan claimed she had all but sealed Cllr Warnock’s support on the Sunday evening of last month’s local elections.
“I want to repudiate what Cllr Gerry Warnock said,” she stated.
“Cllr Warnock and I soldiered very well together on the Town Council and for all of that time Gerry indicated to me, like his father (Christy) before him, that if the cards fell right after the local elections that he was prepared to do a deal with Fine Gael.”
“I left the count with a verbal agreement from Cllr Warnock that he was going to do a deal with Fine Gael. I was asked by the party to secure Gerry.
“That was done and I left under the understanding that Cllr Warnock was going to do a deal.”
Cllr Micheal Carrigy said he had been left baffled by Cllr Warnock’s comments.
Cllr Carrigy said he was still at a loss to explain why Cllr Warnock had a last minute change of heart.
He also insisted the party had never, at any time, attempted to strike a deal which would have left Cllr Warnock out in the cold.
“It (comments) implies people in the Fine Gael party couldn’t be trusted,” he snapped. “We spoke to Gerry Warnock who indicated his interest in doing a deal.
“We approached the other two Independents to see if they would come with us. We stated to those Independents that as far as we were concerned even if the two of them came with us that Gerry Warnock was part of that.
“I want to repudiate the allegation that anyone that was involved in negotiations from a Fine Gael point of view would shaft people.”
Cllr Carrigy said the entire episode and fallout from the loca l elections had left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I have always said my word is my word and that’s the one thing the people of north Longford know and that’s why they voted in large numbers for me.
“I am disappointed at Cllr Warnock,” Cllr Carrigy said adding that he was not going to allow the Longford town councillor to “tarnish the Fine Gael party”.