Irish Water ‘most difficult issue’ says Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly has said dealing with water charges was “very, very difficult” and that he still fears for his personal safety.

However, Labour’s deputy leader also still holds ambitions to lead the political party.

The Tipperary TD described water charges and Irish Water as “probably the most difficult political issue in 30 years”, adding that it had impacted on his family.

“It was very emotional dealing with the issues of threats to your family, threats to your staff,” he said on Today With Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio1. “I felt my personal safety was threatened for a long period of time. I still feel to a certain extent that it’s threatened.

“So many people don’t know what Irish Water does — many politicians sitting in Dáil Éireann don’t know what they do — I challenge Fianna Fáil in particular to go and visit them.”

The acting Environment Minister was speaking ahead of appearing on the catwalk in a charity event organised by the girlfriend of FAI boss John Delaney, which was held last night.

Mr Kelly courted controversy during the election campaign when it emerged that Mr Delaney, who is a Tipperary native, attended a number of events in the Environment Minister’s constituency where he encouraged people to vote for Labour.

“I’m partaking in a fashion show, your public will be delighted to hear,” he told Sean O’Rourke on the radio programme.

“It’s being run by Emma English, who is a partner of John Delaney’s, being co-ordinated with the FAI. It’s for the Johnny Giles trust, and also for Brother Kevin, who runs some great homeless services here in Dublin.”

Mr Kelly said it would be up to party leader Joan Burton to decide when to step down, but did not rule out contesting the leadership when that happens.

“Joan will make her own decision and when that decision is made I’ll answer that question,” he said of running for the position of party leader.

He also admitted that his “power is a drug” comments made to a Sunday newspaper during the course of the election campaign “wasn’t his finest moment”.

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