Patrick McKee joins Renua, denies approaching Sinn Féin
Candidate for Carlow Kilkenny byelection ‘surprised’ Sinn Féin taking this line
Patrick McKee has denied a claim made by Sinn Féin that he approached Kathleen Funchion with a view to joining the party. Photograph: Youtube
The Renua Ireland candidate for next month’s byelection in Carlow-Kilkenny has denies a claim from Sinn Féin that he had approached the party with a view to becoming a member.
Patrick McKee was elected as a city and county councillor for Fianna Fáil in last year’s local elections but said on Tuesday that the “old, weak party political system” is “not capable” of delivering the solutions required for modern Ireland.
Mr McKee said he had spoken to Renua leader Lucinda Creighton weeks ago and after a “frank discussion” found the new party’s “political outlook and social outlook” in line with his own.
He denied a claim made on Monday by Sinn Féin that he had approached that party’s candidate in Carlow-Kilkenny, Kathleen Funchion, recently with a view to becoming a Sinn Féin member.
“I met with Kathleen. I had a cup of coffee, as I do with a lot of my colleagues on Kilkenny County Council, ” he said.
“I expressed my disappointment and disillusionment. My meeting was to wish her luck in the forthcoming byelection.”
That meeting was “about four or five weeks ago,” he said, and he said there was no question of him joining Sinn Féin.
“No. There was no discussion or any sort of formal arrangement or any timeline of any sort. I’m quite surprised that Sinn Féin ar (sic) are taking this line. As far as I’m concerned, it’s typical of what comes from the established parties, when they see someone as a threat.”
He confirmed that he “spoke about the possibility of leaving Fianna Fáil” with Ms Funchion, but not about joining Sinn Féin or running as their candidate.
Ms Creighton said the Sinn Féin claim was “not really credible” as far as she was concerned.
“If he wanted to be a candidate for Sinn Féin, he was hardly going to approach the selected candidate.”
Ms Creighton said Patrick McKee “expressed interest” in joining Renua about two weeks ago and went through “the normal selection process” along with others who wanted to become the byelection candidate.
“There were a number of people who were good and credible but he came out on top,” she said, adding that he has “a great chance” of winning Renua’s fourth Dáil seat in the May 22nd byelection.
Mr McKee said he has not spoken to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin about his defection.
“I resigned from Fianna Fáil last night [MONDAY]. I spoke with the [LOCAL]whip of Fianna Fáil this morning.
“He wished me the very best of luck. I thanked him and the Fianna Fáil members in Carlow-Kilkenny for their support over the last number of months.”
A gay man, Mr McKee said he doesn’t have a partner at the moment and that his sexuality wasn’t an issue in his discussions with the Renua leadership but said “it would be nice” to be in a position to avail of same-sex marriage at some point in the future should it be approved by the electorate in the referendum which takes place on the same day as the byelection.
“I’ll be expressing my view that pursuing the equality agenda and voting Yes on May 22nd will have significant positive effects for Ireland.”