A Labour Party activist in his early 70s who kept a tally of votes for Alan Kelly at the 2020 general election was convicted of sexually assaulting a child almost eight years earlier. RTÉ conducted an interview with the tallyman at the count centre but deleted both the interview and a tweet promoting it.
Both Alan Kelly and the Labour Party were aware of the tallyman’s 2012 sexual assault conviction since at least May 2015. When asked by The Ditch why RTÉ conducted the interview and later deleted it, a spokesperson said the broadcaster “does not comment on editorial decisions”.
The party activist was convicted of the sexual assault of a child in 2012. The victim’s family have claimed, despite raising their concerns with the Labour Party, that he continued to play an active role in the organisation as late as 2020.
The man has been involved with the party since the 1970s and was appointed to a paid position with a state body in the early 1990s.
In 2012 he was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for kissing and groping a child. Following an appeal the term of imprisonment was substituted with a two-year suspended sentence.
The victim’s family made representations to the Labour Party outlining their reservations about the convict's continuing involvement in the party. The family claims their concerns weren't addressed.
At the 2020 general election, when Alan Kelly was Labour’s only candidate in Tipperary, the convicted sexual assailant attended the count centre and kept a tally for the former party leader.
RTÉ journalist Cian McCormack conducted an interview with the tallyman and the state broadcaster promoted the interview on its Twitter account dedicated to Tipperary election coverage. The tweet, which was published 9 February, described the man as a tallyman and said he predicted that Alan Kelly was “in the mix for the fifth seat”.
The tweet and interview were later deleted. RTÉ refused to comment to The Ditch on why the interview was deleted, nor on how it came to be conducted.
Meanwhile The Ditch has obtained a July 2014 photograph of the convicted sexual assailant posted on Facebook depicting him beside Joan Burton shortly after she was elected Labour Party leader at an election held in Dublin’s Mansion House.
The man is tagged in the Facebook post and the photograph was ‘liked’ by Kelly.
The Ditch recently reported that the man was also photographed in attendance at a 2019 Labour Party selection convention and later again that year at the local election count in Thurles, county Tipperary where a former county councillor claims he approached a garda and alerted them to the sex offender’s presence.
Neither Kelly nor the Labour Party wished to comment.