Cork North Central senator John Gilroy says there is nothing to infer from his Facebook message to Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien, AAA-PBP’s Mick Barry, and Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy — all of whom defeated Labour’s Kathleen Lynch. In recent months it was rumoured Mr Gilroy and Ms Lynch had a falling out after he was unable to run for the Dáil because the junior minister chose to run. Mr Gilroy insists that he campaigned vigorously for his colleague.
The post read: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the successful candidates in Cork North Central; Billy Kelleher, Mick Barry, Jonathan O’Brien and Dara Murphy. Well done.” The message, which was responded to by a Facebook user who told the senator “you were celebrating yourself on the double”, was defended by Mr Gilroy.
“I certainly would not ever wish to cause offence,” he said yesterday, adding that while he still harbours Dáil ambitions he would of course support Ms Lynch,who he will commiserate with in the fullness of time, if she seeks to win back her seat.
Election campaigns are often beset with internal difficulties, with an infamous case occurring during last year’s Carlow-Kilkenny by-election success for Bobby Alyward, when local Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness went on holidays. He later responded to a request for all local party members to put up a picture of Mr Alyward as their social media profiles by putting up a picture of his dog, saying the pet has been “very loyal”.