Taoiseach Enda Kenny was very keen to try to gloss over the controversy of sitting Sligo TD John Perry’s failure to get a nomination and the subsequent High Court action by Mr Perry to be added to the ticket.
Questioned about it at a press conference for local media at the Sligo Park Hotel yesterday, Wednesday, morning, Mr Kenny said: “That’s past.”
He added: “We have our team now, John, Gerry and Tony. Every constituency is a battlefield and every seat is a challenge. Even in my constituency, and in every constituency, there are always political rivalries.”
When it was pointed out that those rivalries don’t generally end up in the High Court, he said: “That matter was resolved and dealt with and John Perry is a member of the Fine Gael team here in Sligo, Leitrim, south Donegal and west Cavan”.~
Asked can Fine Gael hold their two seats here, he replied confidently: “Yes” and went on to elebatorate why, citing Fine Gael’s policies to continue the economic recovery. The issue was raised again at a press conference for national media in the Avalon Centre.
However, Mr Kenny dismissed the question as “irrelevant”. He said they now had “a formidable trio” and said: “It is going to be a very enthusiastically fought election here.” For his part John Perry was also keen to regard the matter as water under the bridge.
“It was political, it was never personal. I respect him as the leader of the party. He is doing a wonderful job”, he told the Weekender.
Indeed he said that he didn’t hold Mr Kenny “personally responsible” for what happened. He said it was party general secretary Tom Curran, but he said he didn’t hold “any animosity towards him either”.
Mr Kenny was accompanied at the Avalon Centre by Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys to launch Fine Gael’s plans for Supporting Older People, promising an increase in the State pension of €25 a week by 2021, an increase in the living alone allowance, a cap on prescription charges at €17.50 and enhanced supports for older people to help them live independently in their own homes.
They were welcomed to the Avalon centre by manager Paul Toland, who pointed out that the centre had been in operation since 1961 and provided a day care programme four days a week for about 80 older people. And he said that including the various other activities in the centre they catered for people from as young as 3 up to their oldest participant who was 100.