Kilduff ‘vehemently rejects’ Keogh claim

Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, has strongly rejected an allegation made against him by Fianna Fáil colleague Cllr. John Keogh that has resulted in legal action.

  The Roscommon People reported last week that, on October 7, Cllr. Keogh filed a case against his south Roscommon colleague in the High Court.

  It is understood that the case relates to alleged defamation.

  It is understood that Cllr. Keogh alleges that Cllr. Kilduff made a defamatory remark about him outside Coffey’s Bar, Lecarrow, on October 8, 2014.

  Cllr. Keogh has taken the step of issuing a case to the High Court, as opposed to the Circuit Court. The High Court is the appropriate court to hear cases involving claims of damages in excess of €75,000.

  In a statement issued on Monday, Cllr. Kilduff said that it was with sadness that he learned through the local media of Cllr. Keogh’s intention to take a High Court action against him.

  He said: “I vehemently reject the allegation against me, which surfaced late at night during a 2014 Christmas party in Ennis. I was not present at that party.

  “As Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council and in deference to the office I am honoured to hold, I have refrained from public comment on this matter between Cllr. Keogh and myself, which has continued now for the past number of months.”

  An internal inquiry has been ongoing by Fianna Fáil for almost five months, arising from a complaint made by Cllr. Keogh against Cllr. Kilduff.

  Cllr. Kilduff said that he was “deeply disappointed” that the court proceedings had been issued before the inquiry had reported. “I sincerely hope this action will not prevent publication of the inquiry’s findings,” he said.

  He said that he and numerous mediators had expended “considerable time and effort trying to resolve this issue” with Cllr. Keogh.

  He added: “I have on many occasions extended the hand of friendship to my colleague and assured him that I hold him in the highest possible regard.”

  Cllr. Kilduff said that he hoped the two could be reconciled and that “we both return to our once constructive and co-operative relationship”.

  He said: “Finally, I want to assure the people of Roscommon, my fellow councillors and the management and staff of Roscommon County Council that this unfortunate matter will not in any way distract me from the duties of the office I am privileged to hold.”

  Cllr. Keogh declined to comment.