THREE members of a prominent Fine Gael branch in the city have resigned in protest at not getting a Caherdavin candidate on the ticket.
Kieran Hartigan, the chairman of the Con McGrath branch, and secretary Eoin Kirwan resigned in disgust following a stormy meeting last week. Another member followed.
They are angry that Moyross activist Tina O’Gorman has been added to the Fine Gael ticket, for City North, instead of someone from the Caherdavin area, where the party has traditionally polled strongly.
Fine Gael did initially pick Caherdavin man Timmy O’Connor to run in the newly enlarged north ward. However, the popular Na Piarsaigh chairman – who was expected to do extremely well – was forced to pull out of the race on health grounds.
Ms O’Gorman, who has raised large sums for charity, was put in his place.
But a source within the branch said they are angry at not being consulted over this decision- saying there are a number of strong candidates in Caherdavin who could have been selected.
“Since its inception, Con McGrath branch, Caherdavin always produced its own councillor. We have had Cormac Hurley, who is retiring, and we also had Timmy O’Connor before he was forced out,” the source said. “We felt we have been kept in the dark on this.”
At the meeting last week, the source added fears were raised over the Caherdavin area not having its own councillor, with anti-social behaviour, irresponsible landlords, and horses causing damage to gardens chief among their concerns.
“A lot of people are unhappy, and hurt. They feel now we have no representation, there will be no looking after it. Timmy was put on the ticket. But after that, we had no input whatsoever. The constituency council said they were doing it, and that was it.”
A senior Fine Gael figure in the city confirmed the departures, adding: “I think a number of people were quite surprised the branch was not asked. This is one of the root causes. There was no need for it. There is always something going on, and you cannot walk away when something does not go right for you,” they said.
But northside councillor Michael Hourigan argued the party has a strong candidate who is well known across the northside.
“I am very confident she will represent her area well. She is well known across the entire area, being an official fundraiser on many fronts across the last number of years. I can say in all honesty, she is a household name on all sides of the city. She is from a big family in the Moyross area, and has been active in the community. She has been at the forefront in fundrasiing in Limerick city for years,” he said.
Mr Hartigan and Mr Kirwan were not available for comment.