Lucinda Creighton denies paranoia over ‘cheap shot Fine Gael smear campaign’

Renua Leader Lucinda Creighton has denounced what she called a “cheap shot and pathetic attempt to smear” her after an anonymous complaint was made about her to the Standards In Public Office.
Lucinda Creighton denies paranoia over ‘cheap shot Fine Gael smear campaign’

Ms Creighton, who is a former Fine Gael minister strongly dismissed allegations made against her which were featured in yesterday’s Sunday Independent.

The anonymous complaint centres on what has been described “benefit in kind” relating to legal fees.

She said the smear campaign was being driven by figures within Fine Gael who are seeking to damage her.

“All I am telling you is that a Fine Gael activist, a former public representative, contacted me about this 18 months ago and told me this story was coming down the track. Now when it never appeared and I never heard anything from Standards in Public Office, I assumed that they had just realised that this was just a baseless story and that they weren’t going to pursue it,” she said.

“But it seems that they were just holding off until ten days before polling day to try to use it to smear me.”

A similar complaint, from the same person, was rejected and dismissed by SIPO previously.

This second complaint was lodged with SIPO on February 5, two days after the general election was called.

She bemoaned the fact the complaint was deliberately lodged as they knew SIPO will not be in a position to deal with it until after polling day on February 26.

In the original complaint to SIPO, the individual claimed the Renua leader had received what they believed to be a ‘benefit in kind’ through the alleged receipt of either a partial settlement, discount or forbearance on the payment of legal fees she had incurred with Simon McAleese Solicitors in the course of defending an action for defamation brought against her in 2012 by property developer Michael O’Flynn.

But speaking yesterday, Ms Creighton was scathing in her criticism of the story and of complaint, which she branded as a “dirty tricks” campaign to damage her electoral chances.

Ms Creighton said she was “way beyond being paranoid” and that she was well aware of agendas in politics.

“I am around so long I am so way beyond being paranoid. I am well aware of the agenda that exists,” she said.

Speaking to reporters, Ms Creighton said: “I have a lot to say. It is false. The Sunday Independent are aware that it is false. I offered to provide them with evidence. The first I heard of this was on Friday when two separate journalists from the Sunday Independent started pursuing this story.

“I contacted SIPO asking them what this was about. They confirmed a frivolous complaint was made. No evidence was furnished and they dismissed it”.

The Sunday Independent yesterday said it stood over its story completely.

A spokesman for Fine Gael dismissed Ms Creighton’s accusations saying: “We have more to be doing.”

Ms Creighton is to speak to SIPO today seeking to have this matter dealt with ahead of the election in a bid to clear her name.

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