‘Hell will freeze over before I vote for Michael McGreal as Mayor’

McGreal and ‘Ming’ at odds over Mayor vote  Paul Healy  The prospects of Fine Gael Councillor Michael McGreal being elected Mayor of Roscommon this summer have been cast into doubt this week after Cllr. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan stated that ‘hell will freeze over’ before he supports his Castlerea electoral area colleague for the prestigious position.  Councillor Flanagan, one of four Independent Council members who signed up to a five-year pact with Fine Gael after the 2004 local elections, has said that he is prepared to support an alternative Fine Gael nominee for Mayor. He did not rule out supporting a Fianna Fail candidate.  Cllr. John Kelly’s term as Mayor will end this summer and the Fine Gael/Independent alliance has been widely expected to propose Cllr. McGreal to succeed Cllr. Kelly as part of a deal thrashed out between the various councillors at the start of the current Council term.  However Cllr. Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is now set to ‘break ranks’. He cites Cllr. McGreal’s stance on a number of local issues, including the proposed siting of a Civic Amenity Site at the Demesne in Castlerea, as evidence of Fine Gael, through Cllr. McGreal, ‘violating the agreement.’ ‘A pact doesn’t stick together regardless of what happens. Fine Gael have not been fair (in their dealings).’  Cllr. Flanagan said that he could not support Cllr. McGreal in any vote for Mayor.  ‘Local issues’ Responding, Cllr. Michael McGreal told the Roscommon people that he hopes to be the Fine Gael nominee for Mayor of Roscommon in June.    In relation to the Fine Gael/Independent agreement, he said he does not believe that the ‘local issues’ referred to by Cllr. Flanagan form any part of a pact which he noted has survived for four years.  As such he, he continued, he would expect that all ‘honourable people’ involved in the agreement would abide by the agreement.  Asked what he felt on hearing that Cllr. Flanagan is refusing to support his bid to be Mayor, Cllr. McGreal said: ‘I’ve heard it before… if he doesn’t honour his commitments that says more about him than it does about me.’  Asked if Fine Gael, faced with the loss of Cllr. Flanagan’s support, would try to woo HAC councillors or Sinn Fein’s Michael Mulligan, Cllr. McGreal said that he would not comment on that ‘at this stage.’