FORMER mayor Pat Kennedy’s bid to rejoin Fine Gael has been blocked by the party’s Limerick City branch.
The Limerick Leader understands Mr Kennedy, a councillor between 1967 and 2014, expressed a wish to rejoin a party he has been in and out of during his long political career – which included a stint in Seanad Eireann.
However, various sources have confirmed that the former general election candidate would not be considered for re-admission at least locally.
The matter came up for discussion at the Fine Gael Limerick City branch’s meeting last week in the Castletroy Park Hotel.
While no Fine Gael party member would comment publicly on the meeting, a number spoke on condition of anonymity.
A well-placed party source said: “There was not a wish within the party for it to happen. People had various different reasons why they felt it should not happen. There was a feeling it wasn’t appropriate at this time.”
Another opined, “There is too much baggage there.”
Contacted by the Limerick Leader, Mr Kennedy, who lives on South Circular Road, said he hadn’t applied “in 2018”.
But, he added: “I don’t want to be very active, but I’d be anxious to help Fine Gael in the next election.
“I was approached [to rejoin] before, but that was a while back.”
Mr Kennedy last held the Fine Gael whip on the old Limerick City Council back in 2013.
However, it was withdrawn after he voted against the party’s candidate for that year’s mayoral election, Denis McCarthy in favour of the eventual victor, Independent candidate Kathleen Leddin, another former Fine Gael member.
In bad tempered exchanges following the controversial contest – the last on the old council – the party’s bloc leader Diarmuid Scully withdrew the whip in public.
He had rejoined Fine Gael in 2009 as part of a deal which saw northside councillor Kevin Kiely gain that year’s mayoralty.
However, for the previous decade prior to that, the barrister-at-law had spent most of his time as an Independent councillor, after Fine Gael overlooked him for a general election nomination.
He told the Leader he remains supportive of Fine Gael, adding: “I still subscribe to the Fine Gael lotto. I never terminated that.
“ I still canvass for Fine Gael, and keep in touch with people. I remain interested.”
Asked by the Leader if he would run again in next year’s local election though, he said: “Oh God No. I’d just like to help out the party if they need me.”