Sunday 23 July 2017

FF senators tell Martin they can't leave race

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

A NUMBER of Fianna Fail senators insist they cannot withdraw their nominations for the Seanad elections despite leader Micheal Martin's request that they hold off putting themselves forward.

Mr Martin is trying to persuade the older FF senators not to run in the upcoming elections to the upper house so he can get younger -- and particularly female -- failed Dail candidates elected instead.

The Fianna Fail national executive met last night for a general election post-mortem and, as expected, ratified Mr Martin's strategy, which is aimed at priming people to run for the Dail.

He wrote to the senators this week asking them to hold off on making a decision to run until he had consulted them all -- but some posted their nominations before Mr Martin's request and insist they cannot withdraw them.

Outgoing senators Mark Daly, Ann Ormonde, Paschal Mooney and Jim Walsh were nominated by designated bodies for the "outside" panel and these nominations are beyond party control. The party controls nominations for the "inside panel" for each of the five vocational panels.

Mr Daly said his nomination by the Irish Deaf Society was submitted last Friday, before Mr Martin sent out his letter on Monday.

"My nomination was made last week, and Ann Ormonde's was as well," Mr Daly said. "Once they're in they can't be withdrawn."

Mr Mooney also said his couldn't be withdrawn and added he agreed with Mr Martin's approach. He said it was similar with what Enda Kenny tried to do in the wake of Fine Gael's 2002 General Election disaster.

Mr Kenny lined up younger candidates for the Seanad, most of whom later went on to win Dail seats.

Strategy

Some FF senators, such as Francie O'Brien and Camillus Glynn, also agree with Mr Martin's strategy but others like Terry Leyden, Mary White and Donie Cassidy are resisting his plans.

One of those Mr Martin hopes will get elected was yesterday appointed as a 'weekend senator' who will fill a gap caused by the election of former senator Ciaran Cannon as a Fine Gael TD candidate for Galway East.

His election to the Dail left a gap in the Seanad, which Mr Cowen has filled with Mr O'Brien, who failed to get re-elected in his Dublin North constituency in the general election.

But he will only be a senator until the election of the new Seanad in late April.

Irish Independent

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