Principal says letter was not politically motivated

The school principal whose criticisms of Dublin TD Derek Keating prompted a Fine Gael aide to remove and dump thousands of copies of a local newspaper has denied his actions were politically motivated.

Tomas Ó Dulaing said he was a member of the United Left Alliance, but his reason for writing to the newspaper was prompted by the behaviour of Mr Keating.

The paper, the Lucan Gazette, carried a letter from Mr Ó Dulaing criticising Mr Keating for claiming credit in a local leaflet drop for getting an extension for Griffeen Valley Educate Together School, a development Mr Ó Dulaing says the TD had no part in.

In recent weeks, Mr Keating has claimed credit for helping to secure a new post office for Lucan as well as a new social welfare office.

Tommy Morris, a parliamentary assistant to Mr Keating, was caught on CCTV footage removing large piles of the newspapers from four stores.

Gardaí confirmed yesterday they were carrying out an investigation into the “alleged theft” of 3,000 copies of the Lucan Gazette freesheet from a number of shops in the locality — despite Mr Keating’s contention that they couldn’t be stolen as they were free.

Mr Ó Dulaing told RTÉ yesterday he was concerned only with setting the record straight as regards his school. “I’m a member of the United Left. It’s not something I’m anxious to hide or anything like that. When somebody comes out and makes claims in relation to a building that they had nothing to do with, surely that can be judged on its own merit.”

It emerged yesterday Mr Keating had a chance to comment before publication, but he insisted on the unedited printing of a 1,500-word response and contained remarks the paper feared were defamatory of Mr Ó Dulaing.

Gazette reporter Paul Hosford said it was not possible to agree to his demands and as Mr Keating had made it a case of “all or nothing“.

Mr Keating did not reply to requests to comment.


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