Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Councillor sorry for 'crass' jibe

Helen McEntee won the Meath East seat formerly held by her father Shane

A Sinn Fein councillor has apologised for accusing a newly elected TD of a cynical approach to politics in the wake of her father's suicide.

Helen McEntee was voted in to her late father Shane's seat in the Meath East by-election three months after the junior minister was found dead in the family home.

Seamus Morris, a Sinn Fein representative in Tipperary North, used a Facebook page to remark on her victory saying: "Isn't it amazing that the McEntee family can put their grief to one side to keep their snouts in the trough?"

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams criticised the comments.

"I think that remark was entirely inappropriate," he said.

"I welcome that (apology from Mr Morris ). I know the McEntee family and I met Helen and her mother, and indeed her granny, on the day of the count."

Mr Morris had said that it was a cynical move for Fine Gael to run Ms McEntee in the by-election for the seat left empty by her late father, a junior minister at the time of his death.

"In relation to my statements regarding Helen McEntee I realise that my comments were crass, inappropriate and lacking in compassion. I wish to apologise for those comments and would like to withdraw my remarks," he said.

Ms McEntee, 26, had worked as a parliamentary assistant for her late father and went on to top the poll in Meath East by-election.

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