FF candidates express anger over by-election

Monday 28 April 2014 22.15
A Longford Fianna Fáil county councillor claimed the leadership of Micheál Martin has been called into question
A Longford Fianna Fáil county councillor claimed the leadership of Micheál Martin has been called into question

A row has broken out in Fianna Fáil over the eligibility of candidates to seek the party's nomination to fight a by-election in the Longford-Westmeath constituency.

Longford Fianna Fáil county councillor Martin Mulleady, has claimed the leadership of Micheál Martin has been seriously called into question

His comments come after party headquarters told elected representatives in the county today that they could not go forward to seek the party's nomination to fight the by-election in the Longford-Westmeath constituency, which is expected to be called on Wednesday.

Councillor Mulleady said he was bitterly disappointed with a directive from Fianna Fáil party headquarters that gave instructions for candidates only from the Athlone area of Westmeath to be allowed to seek the nomination.

A second Longford Fianna Fáil councillor Padraig Loughrey, has also attacked the decision, describing it as undemocratic and not in the best interest of the party

A third Fianna Fail member, seen as a likely candidate for nomination at the convention, former ICMSA Leader Pat O'Rourke, called for an immediate meeting with the party leader and general secretary to take place.

The writ for the Longford-Westmeath by-election is expected to be moved on Wednesday to fill the vacancy created by the death of Fine Gael's Nikky McFadden. 

Ms McFadden's sister Gabrielle has already said she will see the party nomination at a Fine Gael selection convention.

Councillor Aengus O'Rourke, son of the former Government Minister Mary O'Rourke, says he is seeking the party nomination.

It is not yet known if any other Fianna Fáil councillor in the Athlone area will contest it with him.

Despite the fact the writ for the by-election has not yet been moved Fianna Fáil is to hold a selection convention for its candidate on Tuesday night at the Bloomfield Hotel in Mullingar.

However, some Longford party members are now threatening to disrupt the convention if Longford candidates are not allowed to seek the party nomination.

Meanwhile, David McGuinness has been selected as the Fianna Fáil candidate for the Dublin West by-election.

The sitting councillor defeated the late Brian Lenihan's sister Anita Lenihan and local election candidate Edward MacManus at tonight's selection convention.

There were 116 votes in the count giving a quota of 59 votes and Mr McGuinness got 64 vote in the first count, deeming him the party's candidate for the by-election to replace Patrick Nulty, who recently resigned his seat.