News Elections

Thursday 18 September 2014

Fitzpatrick is dragged into 'Bertie-esque' argument

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 22/05/2014 | 02:30

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Mary Fitzpatrick. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Mary Fitzpatrick. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin with Mary Fitzpatrick
Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin with Mary Fitzpatrick
Local election candidate David Costello, who is running in the Cabra-Finglas ward, circulated a leaflet to thousands of homes which claims he has the support of Ms Fitzpatric

FIANNA Fail's European candidate Mary Fitzpatrick has been dragged into a 'Bertie-esque' row between two of the party's feuding local election candidates.

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The Dublin City councillor has found herself at the centre of an embarrassing spat over an election leaflet which claims she has endorsed one candidate over another.

Local election candidate David Costello, who is running in the Cabra-Finglas ward, circulated a leaflet to thousands of homes which claims he has the support of Ms Fitzpatrick.

He insisted last night that the leaflet represented a "genuine endorsement" by Ms Fitzpatrick who, he says, he "works with extremely closely".

"I discussed the leaflet with Mary and there is no doubt in my mind that she is behind my campaign," he said.

But the leaflet has infuriated Mr Costello's running mate Paul Anthony Ward who associated it with the "cute hoor politics that went on in the past in this constituency".

"This is the type of politics that gave Fianna Fail a bad name, that me and my team decided we wanted no part of," Mr Ward told the Irish Independent.

"We've learned from past mistakes and it's a pity that others haven't," he added.

Strategy

Ms Fitzpatrick herself fell victim to a similar strategy adopted by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on the eve of the 2007 General Election.

Mr Ahern sent out a letter to 30,000 constituents in Dublin Central asking them to give their number twos to Cyprian Brady, but made no reference to Ms Fitzpatrick. The move was seen as an attempt to sabotage Ms Fitzpatrick, who lost out on a Dail seat despite securing nearly double Mr Brady's first preferences.

Mr Ahern then put the dagger into Ms Fitzpatrick's campaign again in 2011 when he released a letter which again called on voters to back Mr Brady ahead of his running mate.

Now Ms Fitzpatrick has found herself at the centre of a similar row.

However, Mr Costello rejected all suggestions of dirty tricks and said the leaflet had been discussed with Ms Fitzpatrick beforehand.

"If I wanted to do dirty tricks I would have released such a leaflet on the eve of the election," he told the Irish Independent.

Ms Fitzpatrick was not available for comment at the time of going to print.

Irish Independent

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