Varadkar says he has full confidence in Fine Gael’s Tom Curran

Minister was responding to claims councillor Hubert Keaney was pressurised over legal case

Tom Curran: Minister for Social Protection  Leo Varadkar said he had full confidence in the party’s general secretary in light of allegations. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tom Curran: Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said he had full confidence in the party’s general secretary in light of allegations. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has insisted he has full confidence in Fine Gael’s general secretary Tom Curran.

Mr Varadkar was responding to allegations that Fine Gael councillor Hubert Keaney was pressurised by Mr Curran not to give evidence in a case taken against the party. Mr Varadkar said he had full confidence in the party’s general secretary in light of the claims.

“I’ve only heard allegations, I don’t know the facts. I would be interested to know the facts but I don’t know them all yet, but yes, I have confidence in Tom Curran,” the Minister said.

Mr Keaney, who is mayor of Sligo County Council, has written to Mr Curran and Fine Gael’s director of elections, Brian Hayes, alleging he was warned not to give evidence in a High Court case taken by former Fine Gael TD John Perry.

Mr Perry had taken and won a court case against the party and its handling of a selection convention in the constituency when he failed to win a nomination. However, he was later added to the ticket after successfully challenging the case.

The Irish Times has spoken to a former Fine Gael politician who alleges he was told by Mr Curran to encourage Mr Keaney not to testify.

Mr Keaney gave evidence in the High Court case but has now sought to raise concerns over his treatment in the run-up to it.

He declined to comment when contacted.

Fine Gael has sent the allegations to their legal advisers who are understood to be preparing a robust response to them.

The legal team has advised party members not to make any public comment on the matter.

Correspondence sent to Mr Perry confirmed the party’s legal advisers are considering the claims.

A Fine Gael spokeswoman said the party would be making no comment on the allegations. “This case has been before the courts and has now been concluded. As such, we have no further comment to make on the matter.”

The six-day court case is believed to have cost the party in the region of €500,000. The case was settled out of court.