Fine Gael backbencher Sean Conlan believes there may have been a dirty tricks campaign against him, after an email sent to the Taoiseach about him was leaked to the media.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD recently compared Enda Kenny’s handling of the Seanad nomination controversy to the era of Charles Haughey. He believes the criticism was behind the alleged leaking of the personal information.
He was responding to a report relating to correspondence between the Taoiseach and an antiques dealer who asked Mr Kenny to intervene in a row with Mr Conlan over a €10,000 ruby and diamond ring.
It emerged yesterday that antiques dealer Freya Hart wrote to Mr Kenny claming she had met Mr Conlan and his partner, Sarah Comiskey, at a trade fair in the UK in August.
Ms Hart claimed there were complications around paying for the ring on the day and it was agreed it would be paid for later.
She told Mr Kenny she tried to contact Mr Conlan about the ring on several occasions but could not reach him. Mr Conlan said he has since returned the ring to Ms Hart.
Responding to the story yesterday, Mr Conlan said it was a “clear attempt” to “harm” him after recent criticism of Mr Kenny.
“How did the email that was only seen by two or three people end up on the front page of a national newspaper,” he asked.
“Why did it happen only after I made public criticism of behaviour in relation to the McNulty affair?”
Mr Conlan, a solicitor and constituency colleague of Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, recently came under criticism from some members of Fine Gael for his comments on the appointment of the party’s then Seanad candidate, John McNulty, to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
He told RTÉ Radio at the time: “We are very fearful of the fact that the situation with the Taoiseach is returning to the days of stroke politics, and the days of Charlie Haughey, and we don’t want a situation like that.
“The vast majority of Fine Gael TDs want to see reform in Irish politics, and want the public to know that we don’t agree with the way in which this has been handled. We believe the way in which Minister Humphreys decided to place him on the board was a mistake. It shouldn’t have happened. It damages the image of Fine Gael.”
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