Keaveney claims smear campaign is behind revelations over wife’s roleSeptember 27, 2012 - 7:00am
Galway East TD Colm Keaveney has claimed he is the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by “powerful vested interests” in the Labour Party, after he faced criticisms for employing his wife as his Parliamentary assistant.
Deputy Keaveney has defended his political career to date, but admitted his outspoken views have made him unpopular in some quarters.
It emerged at the weekend that Mr Keaveney’s wife
Deirdre has been employed directly by the Oireachtas on a job-share basis in July and full-time basis since the beginning of this month.
The move came despite a Labour party diktat to avoid employing family members.
Deputy Keaveney defended his decision, saying his wife had been his partner in politics for 20 years and he could rely on her to act on his behalf to assist constituents.
He said that since he was elected to the Dáil last year and as Chair of the Labour Party this year, he has become the victim of ‘tall poppy syndrome’.
He told the Connacht Tribune: “Sometimes standing up and asserting your values and defending those you represent will cause a reaction and I have always had admiration for those who refuse to back away from doing so.
“Since my entry into national politics I have found myself on a learning curve and have certainly learnt the lesson that when you stick your head over the parapet and stand up for certain values you can be assured of attracting attention from those who do not share, or even oppose those values.
“Recently, along with those who took part in an incredibly dignified protest outside Government Buildings, I spoke up and was instrumental in reversing cuts to disability services. I have also been vocal in my support for Minister Róisín Shortall and her vision for the health service.
“I make no apologies for that or for speaking out against the closing of the Vatican embassy and that stand certainly provoked a reaction, but I accept that as being a consequence of standing up for what I believe in.
“As Chairperson of the Labour Party, nobody will stop me defending what I believe in, even if that can sometimes make me unpopular with some powerful vested interests in Irish society,” he said.
see full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.