CONTROVERSY continues to dog Fianna Fail’s selection conventions for next year’s local elections.
Following a stormy meeting last month in the new Cappamore-Kilmallock electoral area, there was uproar at last week’s convention in Adare-Rathkeale.
According to Emmett O’Brien, a candidate who failed narrowly to get on the ticket: “There was open revolt. In my view it was a kangaroo convention.”
He claimed up to 30 party members walked out in protest while at least 30 more formed a human chain to prevent the ballot box being removed from the convention room for counting. According to reports of the meeting, there were ca
The upshot has been the calling of another meeting of party members this Wednesday night in Rathkeale House Hotel. The call came from four well-known party members, one of whom, Michael Mulcaire is a former councillor. In their letter, they say that in view of the express demands of the delegates to declare last week’s convention null and void, the meeting will discuss all matters arising from the convention and seek agreement on how to proceed from here.
At the time of going to press, however, the outcome of what has been dubbed by one party member as a mutiny, was unknown.
Last week’s convention was run on a district system, with the Rathkeale electoral area carved up into four districts. Three candidates were selected, unopposed and without a vote in three districts: Richard O’Donoghue, James Cavanagh and Seamus Sheahan.
Only in the Askeaton Estuary district were votes cast and sitting councillor Kevin Sheahan won the vote there with 43 votes to Emmett O’Brien’s 38.
“This was a three-card trick to present the old as new,” one party member said afterwards. the convention. And there was particular disquiet about the fact that voting for the Askeaton Estuary district took place at the start of proceedings and before the convention chairman called the meeting to order.
“I have consistently called for an open convention where every delegate would have a free choice and a free vote. I feel the district convention was unfair given that 40 delegates (in Adare Rathkeale) got no chance to vote,” Mr O’Brien said. Cllr Michael Collins, from the Newcastle West electoral area, declined to count the votes because he felt that delegates’ wishes were not heeded.
“On the night I expected it to be one person, one vote and I believe that it the way it should have been run,” successful candidate, Richard O’Donoghue said.
Asked if he thought the convention was invalid, Cllr Kevin Sheahan said the chairman, Robert Troy “abided by the instructions he got from headuqarters”.
“I believed before the convention and I believe now the candidates should strategically placed,” he said. He was critical of the fact that student and OAP members got no reduction in the registration fee of €20. And he added that of 100 people he had registered, all but five of them were deemed to be not eligible to vote under the rules even though many of them were long-serving members.
Seamus Sheahan, who ran as an indendent candidate in 2009, said he was just delighted to have been selected. “What happened at the meeting wasn’t very nice but these things happen in politics, particularly internal party politics,” he said, However, he added: “It was disappointing.”
The remaining candidate, James Cavanagh did not respond to calls from the Limerick Leader.
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