THE MINISTER FOR Transport Paschal Donohoe has defended FAI chief executive John Delaney after a photo appeared of him and Labour deputy leader Alan Kelly apparently canvassing together in Co Tipperary.
Speaking on Newstalk’s The Sunday Show with Shane Coleman Donohoe said: “My own view is what people do in their own personal time is their own business”.
The photo of environment minister (and Tipperary native) and Delaney apparently on the hustings together appears on the front page of today’s Sunday Times.
The accompanying article alleges via a source that Delaney appeared on the canvass last Friday, and “was saying that Kelly is his man and that he wants him re-elected”.
Given their relatively low standings in the polls Labour are expected to struggle in the coming election.
However, Kelly’s Tipperary North seat is considered to be one of the party’s safer bets.
In his Newstalk interview Dublin TD Donohoe said that he was “certain” that Delaney “or anyone else involved in a public body” would not be using their public office to advance any candidate.
“It would be very important to me that anyone leading a body funded with taxpayers’ money would not be out advocating for any political party,” he said.
I deal with the FAI and other sporting bodies very regularly, I’m confident that John or anyone else would not do that.
The transport minister expressed scepticism about the validity of the story, stating “I don’t see any evidence in this article, did it happen?”
There is only one source within this story, I would like to establish what happened in relation to this. We don’t know if this is formal or informal.
Donohoe similarly dismissed criticism of Kelly by independent Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath within the article saying “I would respectfully say that Mattie would not be an impartial observer in all of this”.