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Renua looking into claims "Yes Kilkenny" was a 'front' for candidate

The party’s ethics officer Karl Deeter said he is trying to find out what happened.

Updated: 4.34 pm, Wednesday.

RENUA’S ETHICS OFFICER is looking into a controversial endorsement of the party’s Carlow-Kilkenny by-election candidate Patrick McKee last Friday.

Karl Deeter told TheJournal.ie he was gathering information “as to who posted what and when” in order to “try and find out what happened”.

Deeter was responding to a report by this website last night in which the pro-same sex marriage group “Yes Kilkenny” – which is separate to “Yes Equality Kilkenny”, the local branch of the national campaign – denied it was a ‘front’ for McKee’s campaign.

The group, which presented itself as “non-party” and a “cross-community campaign to secure a Yes vote,” during the lead-up to the same-sex marriage referendum, issued a controversial endorsement to McKee last Friday.

screenshot.1432663157.66175 Source: www.thejournal.ie

It has since emerged the campaign was run by figures within Renua Ireland, including McKee’s campaign manager Adrian Shanahan and local party activist John Eardly.

Deeter, who is not a member of Renua, is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the party’s code of conduct and recently produced a video guide to canvassing.

He said this evening that he was looking into the issue after receiving a phonecall from a member of Renua about the issue last night. He said he wanted to establish if there was a “valid concern”.

Carlow/Kilkenny By-Election. The count Patrick McKee finished fourth in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election with 9,269 votes. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Yesterday, Shanahan said the endorsement was posted via his Facebook account, but “it wasn’t my decision.”

He denied the Yes Kilkenny campaign was a “front” for McKee’s Dáil bid. He said the suggestion it was set up as a precursor to McKee’s Renua campaign was “completely untrue and unfounded”.

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Renua said last night it would be “a matter of grave concern” if anything untoward occurred and said it would respond to any complaints made “as swiftly as we can”.

TheJournal.ie requested comment from Patrick McKee and John Eardly, but did not receive a response.

Update: On Wednesday afternoon, John Eardly released a statement clarifying that he alone was responsible for posting the endorsement, and apologising for “any hurt or upset” it had caused.

I take full responsibility for this decision. In doing so, I wish to confirm that my colleague on the Yes Kilkenny FB Page, Adrian Shanahan, was NOT involved in the decision to post the piece.
The decision was made by me and me alone. Cllr Patrick McKee was not aware of this decision at any time either.
…I decided to post the piece supporting Patrick McKee in the by-election because it was my deeply held view that it would be good for the LGBT community in Kilkenny.
Nonetheless, I apologize for any hurt or upset caused to anyone who was offended by my piece.

Originally published: 9pm, Tuesday.

- with reporting from Dan MacGuill 

Read more: “Yes Kilkenny” referendum campaign denies it was a ‘front’ for Renua candidate

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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