DANIEL MCCONNELL: Keep your friends close and party rivals closer

Fianna Fáil European Parliament candidates for Ireland South, Billy Kelleher, TD, and Malcolm Byrne, after handing in nomination papers at returning officer Martin A Harvey’s offices, Washington St, Cork. Picture: Tony O’Connell Photography

BILLY “One Seat” Kelleher: that rather disparaging description of the long-standing TD and favourite MEP candidate, by his party colleague Malcolm Byrne over a perceived breach of an agreed boundary has generated much hilarity this week.

Our front-page story on Tuesday detailed the bun fight that ensued when Byrne complained officially to Fianna Fáil bosses over what he described as persistent encroachments by Kelleher in areas designated as off-limits.

The hilarious part had come less than five days earlier, when Byrne and Kelleher had sat side by side at their party’s official European campaign launch, in Dublin, and had insisted all was well, that they were working well together, and that no problem existed.

Emails revealed that Byrne complained to the director of elections, Lisa Chambers, and party general secretary, Sean Dorgan, about Kelleher’s “continued ignoring” of the agreed divide.

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