Rabbitte rejects Pringle "offer" claims
Former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte TD says he accepts his party had been in contact with Killybegs Councillor Thomas Pringle.
He added, however, he does not believe "any offer" was ever made to him.
He said the Labour Donegal south west candidate issue was "settled" with original nominee, Cllr Frank McBrearty, who also ran in the recent by-election in the same constituency.
Cllr Pringle said he was approached by Labour Party's George Cummins on December 20. He explained he was offered the opportunity of a Seanad seat if he failed to get elected under their party banner if he was to join them, but he rejected their alleged proposal.
Speaking to this newspaper on Friday during a visit to the county, Deputy Rabbitte said: "I have double checked and it is true that contact was made with Pringle and I wouldn't be at all surprised because there is a certain convergence in terms of policy between the stated policy goals that he kept laying down and the Labour Party platform, so that is not unusual. What is unusual is any claim that he was made an inducement, or any offer, and I don't believe that happened. The opportunities I have had to check it has confirmed my view that I don't believe that any offer was made it him. If any offer was made to him, there was no authority to do it. What chat took place in a pub or hotel or whatever I can't account for," he stated.
He added that he "assumed it was a publicity opportunity" by the Independent Killybegs Councillor.
He stated he believed the issue of a Labour Party candidate for Donegal Southwest was "settled" with Cllr. Frank McBrearty being nominated.
Deputy Rabbitte also accused Cllr Pringle of "shooting off his mouth" in relation to what he could achieve as an independent TD compared to what the Labour Party could if they make it into Government.
"He should go a bit easier on the rhetoric," the Labour TD stated on a visit to Donegal last Friday.
The Labour Justice spokesman was on visit in the county with his party candidate for Donegal North East in the forthcoming March 11 General Election, Cllr Jimmy Harte.
Questioned on the prospects of having either one or two candidates taking a Dail seat after the looming election he says it will be an "uphill struggle" for Labour as the Donegal ballot, historically, has been "unkind" to them although he says there is a "earthquake change" in the way people are looking at politics.
"In that circumstance the question is where will that vote settle? I would say that I have been around with Jimmy Harte since last night and today and I'm very proud of the fact we have a standard bearer here who has credibility, who has a track record, whose family have a track record in public service and he would be an informed and sensible representative for the Labour Party."
He added he was "very hopefully of the formers Fine Gael mans's chances in the election.
On Cllr McBrearty's chances in the Donegal South west constituency, he said it will be difficult to claim a seat.
"It is always an uphill battle of Labour in a constituency like Donegal south west. But I actually think the survival of Fianna Fail in Donegal south west is at issue. They will find it difficult to hold a seat," he stated