THE vice-chairman of the Cork South West Fine Gael executive said he ‘won’t be silenced’ on his views.
Peter Walsh says he was asked to resign as party vice-chairman and social media officer after personal tweets about Minister Jim Daly’s brother.
Mr Walsh, who runs a newsagents in Dunmanway, caused controversy in the party over comments he made relating to an ongoing District Court case involving Minister Jim Daly’s brother, John Christopher, who pleaded guilty to selling illegal tobacco at his post office in Drinagh in November 2016.
‘Just after lunchtime last Monday the chairman JJ Walsh turned up outside my shop and he broached the subject of my comments. He said that he had discussed it with the Minister and the regional organiser of the party and I was asked to resign from my executive positions,’ said Peter who has also resigned his party membership, having been a member since 2005.
‘I agreed to resign but said I will not be silenced. I have a personal view on this because of the business I am in. I’m still very disappointed and feel I should be able to speak my mind on very important issues. This is not the Fine Gael I know.’
As a retailer Peter feels he has a right to comment on the problem of tobacco smuggling, as it affects his business and his livelihood.
‘I have always been an outspoken strong opponent of cigarette smuggling and it’s on the Dáil record from 2009 when Jim O’Keeffe asked three questions on my request, ’ added Peter.
Chairman of the Cork South West Fine Gael executive, JJ Walsh had told Mr Walsh that ‘in view of recent activity on your part not aligning with the party’s best interests’ that he should resign the two positions.
Speaking to The Southern Star, JJ Walsh confirmed that Peter Walsh has resigned from the party and from his position as both the executive’s vice-chairman and social media officer.
‘It was a matter that had to be dealt with,’ said JJ Walsh, who added that the executive would meet at a later date to find a replacement.