herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Lucinda claims she is victim of a smear campaign driven by Fine Gael top brass

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton insists she will ‘fight back’
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton insists she will ‘fight back’

Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton has claimed she is the victim of a smear campaign after it emerged the Standard in Public Office Commission (Sipo) received an anonymous complaint relating to her.

Ms Creighton said there is no truth to an allegation that she failed to declare a 'benefit in kind' during her time as a minister of state.

She suggested that the complaint was the result of "dirty tricks" linked to her former party, Fine Gael.

"I was made aware that this was coming down the tracks 18 months ago, when I was I contacted by a Fine Gael activist who told me that, at senior levels in that party, there was a plan to smear me through the Standards in Public Office Commission.

"I was aware that something was coming," she said.

Fight

However, Ms Creighton repeatedly refused to say who she believes is behind the alleged smear campaign, saying she didn't want to get sued.

"There's a lot of very powerful people in this State. They don't like it, they don't like us, they don't want us to be elected, and you know what, we're going to fight back," she said.

The original complaint to Sipo claimed that the Dublin Bay South TD had received a 'benefit in kind' through the alleged receipt of either a partial settlement, discount or forbearance on the payment of legal fees she had incurred with Simon McAleese Solicitors in the course of defending an action for defamation brought against her in 2012 by property developer Michael O'Flynn.

The case was settled after two days of hearings in the High Court ,with Ms Creighton issuing an apology to Mr O'Flynn for remarks she made at the MacGill Summer School in July 2010.

She expressed to an audience her disquiet over the developer's participation in a Fine Gael golf fundraiser at the K Club.

Frivilous

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, Ms Creighton described the complaint as "frivolous" and said it was "a very cheap shot".

She intends to ask Sipo if they can convene a special meeting to deal with the complaint.

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