FINE GAEL leader Enda Kenny had held private talks with Labour to try and help his party secure the mayoralty of Limerick, it emerged yesterday.
A war of words continued yesterday after FG’s Cllr Kevin Kiely was defeated eight votes to nine by Independent John Gilligan.
The new mayor had secured the support of one of the three sitting Labour councillors, Cllr John Ryan.
Mayor Gilligan also secured the votes of two former Labour members, Kieran Walsh and James Houlihan, who left the party’s ranks recently after internal differences.
The party leader in the city, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan yesterday revealed she had talks with Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny prior to Monday’s election.
But there was never any question of assurances being given on how the three Labour councillors would vote, she said.
The FG leader on the council, Cllr Michael Hourigan said that two Labour members, Cllr Gerry McLoughlin and Cllr Joe Leddin, promised their vote but the third Labour member, Cllr Ryan, never committed himself to vote for the FG candidate.
However, he claimed one of the six independent members who had promised to vote for Cllr Kiely did not stand by the commitment when the vote was called.
Ms O’Sullivan stated that the pact between her party and Fine Gael ceased more than two years ago. She said: “The agreement we had with Fine Gael fell around that time.”
Ms O’Sullivan said Fine Gael lost out on Monday because the two Fianna Fáil members switched loyalties and voted for Cllr Gilligan.
She had spoken with Mr Kenny and others in that party but there was never any question of her “delivering” Labour votes to the FG candidate, Cllr Kiely.
She said: “I did indicate that Joe Leddin and Gerry McLoughlin would be voting for their candidate and they were free to vote any way they wished. I did not speak to John Ryan. I never sought to influence John Ryan. There was never any indication given to Fine Gael that they would get all three Labour votes.”
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