Kelly denies 'deal' to secure his candidacy

 

Labour Party Wicklow Dáil candidate Mr Nicky Kelly has confirmed the party has given him a series of spending commitments for the county but denied this was a private "deal" to secure his candidacy.

His rival, Wicklow Fine Gael deputy Mr Billy Timmins, yesterday called on the Labour Party leader to clarify whether such a deal had been struck. Mr Timmins said he was responding to reports that he had negotiated a €300 million deal with the Labour leader Mr Ruairí Quinn "and that it will be delivered if Cllr Kelly secures a seat in the Dáil and Labour forms part of the next Government."

Mr Kelly said Labour had committed itself to developing Loughlinstown hospital as a "state-of-the-art" general hospital; developing a "polyclinic" in south Wicklow with diagnostic and respite facilities; establishing an annex of a third level institute of technology in the county and decentralising a Government Department to the county.

Mr Kelly, a strong vote-getter as an independent, agreed to join the party ticket alongside Ms Liz McManus TD and Councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy last year. He said yesterday that the other party candidates were fully supportive of the proposals.

Referring to Mr Timmins comments he said: "It's unfortunate and sad that a TD would be negative in a way that could obstruct these things being delivered to the county."

Labour confirmed yesterday that "discussions" had taken place with Mr Kelly and the party's other candidates.

They stated a general commitment to implementation of the national development plan, but would not comment on the specific additional projects Mr Kelly said had been promised.

Mr Kelly said the trade unions were supportive of the decentralisation proposal.

He said he had put these proposals to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil when he was being courted by various parties with a view to his standing, but only Labour had agreed to such a plan.