INDEPENDENT councillor Alan Grehan hit back at Peter Fitzpatrick’s claims that the Save Our Hospital Services committee was a Sinn Féin committee by accusing him of making slanderous remarks in his statement.
Cllr Grehan said he joined the committee as his late mother, Dr Mary Grehan, had been involved in the battle to save and protect services at the Louth County Hospital for years.
He said: “I was elected as an independent county councillor and I’ve never been a part of any party nor have I any intention to be at this stage.
“As an elected representative I do expect criticism at times but I don’t expect members of this committee to be lambasted with what is effectively slander. A lot of the people on this committee aren’t in the public eye but they’ve come together for the common goal.”
Cllr Grehan said Deputy Fitzpatrick’s comments were ironic considering two Fine Gael county councillors, a senator and the general secretary of the party “have all been in contact with me in the last month” to join the party.
Cllr Grehan said he had agreed to meet them but said he wanted the restoration of services on top of the agenda were he to join. The meeting never happened though.
“To be called a Sinn Féin sympathiser by him is politically immature, in my opinion.
“This committee has been on the go for 20 years with people like Tom Bellew, Martin Bellew and my own mother heavily involved and I think his comments show that he’s not fit to lace their boots.”
Fellow committee member Anita McCann said that Fitzpatrick “hasn’t got a clue”.
She said she wasn’t a member of any political party and never had been and said she only got involved because of her son.
She warned that Deputy Fitzpatrick’s comments could now cause problems for some committee members.
“After his outburst people are going to be have to be very careful. I’m on this committee because it’s a personal situation rather than a political thing. I don’t want a character assassination.”
Anita said she served on committees that required her to be politically neutral and said his comments could be damaging to her as well as people in similar positions such as union reps Colette Ward and Mags Tuite. The former was said to have made her own personal complaint to Deputy Fitzpatrick over the matter.
Anita said: “I don’t think he realises the damage he could’ve done with his statement. No one is ashamed to work for Sinn Féin but certain members of this committee have to be apolitical so is he saying some of us lied now?”
Olive Sharkey said she didn’t think people cared who was fighting for the hospital anyway once someone was.
“People don’t care who gives them the voice once someone does it,” she said.
Cllr Sharkey said to brand the committee as Sinn Féin commitee was also a “slur on those people who signed petitions and marched in rallies.”