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Sean Conlan thinks Fine Gael is out to get him

The TD, who resigned from the party yesterday, claimed figures in Fine Gael are attempting to silence him.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A FINE GAEL TD who stepped down from the party yesterday has said ‘the attack dogs are out’ attempting to spin his resignation in a negative context.

Cavan–Monaghan deputy Sean Conlan will run as an independent in the general election after resigning from Fine Gael.

Conlan’s resignation comes just a few months after he was arrested and questioned by gardaí over an alleged assault at his family pub in Ballybay, Co Monaghan on 23 August.

TheJournal.ie has learned that Conlan was told in recent days that he would not be ratified as a Fine Gael candidate for the general election if charged in relation to the incident. It’s believed Conlan spoke to party officials yesterday to inform them that he believed he would be charged.

Conlan has insisted that he resigned  over the party’s handling of public opposition to the North-South Interconnector project. This project would see hundreds of pylons built across several counties in the north of the country.

In a statement last night, Conlan reiterated his comments made on radio station Northern Sound that elements in Fine Gael were attacking him because of the stance he took on various issues.

He also claimed that members of the media “were assisting these individuals who wanted to keep me quiet”.

He is “not angry but deeply saddened and disappointed” by the attitude of powerful figures in Fine Gael.

‘Attacks dogs’

“I said on the RTÉ Six One News and on The Sean O’Rourke Show last year that if you speak out in Fine Gael you will be punished and this is exactly what I feel has happened to me with sustained attacks on my character in the media since that time,” the deputy said, referencing his criticism of the appointment of John McNulty to the board of Imma.

Since my resignation, it is clear to see that the attack dogs within Fine Gael are out, trying to spin the reasons for my resignation into a negative context. Let me be clear – the only reason for my resignation are the reasons as stated above.

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Commenting on suggestions his resignation was related to his arrest, he said:

So I wonder what the great and powerful have in store next? I am reading this evening through the national media that I am now expected to be charged over an assault that took place on me in my family bar last summer.

Conlan’s was the second Fine Gael departure in the constituency yesterday after councillor Hugh McElvaney, who has served for more than 40 years, also quit the party over the pylons issue.

He announced his resignation at a meeting of the Anti-Pylon Movement where Conlan was present. McElvaney was first elected to Monaghan County Council back in 1974, describing himself as a “dyed in the wool Fine Gael man”.

In a brief statement yesterday, Fine Gael said: “We note that Seán Conlan has decided to resign from the Fine Gael party and wish him well for the future.”

Read: Controversial Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan resigns from party

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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