Sunday 25 September 2016

FG revolt threatens seats of senators

Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30

Leinster House
Leinster House

Outgoing Fine Gael senators are at serious risk of losing their seats due to an internal revolt from their own councillors.

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A significant number of councillors have privately discussed the prospect of returning Seanad ballot papers unfilled in protest over their pay. Councillors insist they can no longer cope with the increased workload caused by the boundary changes.

Another line of protest being discussed is a refusal to sell tickets for the Fine Gael superdraw.

And the anger is being firmly directed at outgoing senators as ballot papers for the Seanad elections are circulated this week.

Such is the level of frustration, councillors are actively snubbing requests by senators to meet ahead of the upcoming election.

Kerry Councillor Bobby O'Connell, who is chairman of the Local Authorities Members' Association (LAMA), said councillors feel they have been ignored by their senators.

"There is the perception that we have not heard from them for five years," he said.

Galway Councillor Jimmy McClearn said deep frustrations are being expressed by his colleagues.

"There are a lot of outgoing senators scrambling to find reasons why councillors should vote for them," he added.

Mayo Councillor Patsy O'Brien added he has "not seen many of the senators in two years" when it was thought voters would abolish the chamber.

Galway City Councillor Pádraig Conneely said there is a strong view that councillors are forced to work much harder than senators.

"I went into a meeting in the council at 2:30pm yesterday and didn't finish until 9:45pm.

"I wonder is there any senator sitting for those sort of hours?" he asked.

Meanwhile, first-time Seanad candidate South Dublin Councillor William Lavelle said there is a view "councillors are not being listened to", particularly in relation to their calls for greater investment in roads.

Irish Independent

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