Senator Maria Byrne’s council seat has yet to be filled
THE 'fiasco' over the delay in replacing Maria Byrne on the council will come to a head at a Fine Gael meeting in Limerick this Monday night.
Numerous local party members are expected to address the event at the South Court Hotel as their frustrations at seeing the new Senator’s council seat lie vacant for four months threaten to boil over.
The delay – which almost cost Fine Gael the metropolitan mayoral election – has been caused after Patrickswell man Fergus Kilcoyne lodged a complaint to party headquarters over “serious irregularities” in the addresses of some members in the party’s largest city branch.
He has since called for this James Reidy branch to be stripped of its voting rights for a year.
Mr Kilcoyne – who missed out by a whisker in being elected in 2014 – is due to face Elenora Hogan, South Circular Road in the battle for the vacant seat.
Although the issue of the co-option is not on the formal agenda it is set to be raised under the topic of branch affiliations or any other business. “It is going to be a stormy meeting, let me tell you,” one Fine Gael source said, “All this is going to come to a head”.
It is the first time in living memory Fine Gael has ever held a local constituency party meeting in August.
The Leader understands their is an acute sense of embarrassment that Fine Gael has not completed the co-option, with local members pointing out that other parties had theirs done within weeks of February’s general election.
“Members are getting sick and tired of this. It is frustrating. When you don’t address issues like this, it allows the rumour mill to go into overdrive,” was how one Fine Gael councillor put it, with another saying it is “bordering on a fiasco”.
Open to all Fine Gael members in the city, the meeting is expected to draw a larger than normal attendance with around 100 expected to attend.