FF 'exploring ways' to get ex-councillor to pay €17k
Fianna Fáil is exploring ways to make its former councillor David McGuinness "pay back" more than €17,000 in funds after his decision to resign from the party.
The Irish Independent has learned that the party is examining how to recoup two payments of €8,700 paid back to Mr McGuinness in election returns after two unsuccessful by-elections.
The party is also seeking the return of some IT equipment it had given to Mr McGuinness to help him develop his organisation.
Mr McGuinness, who is now an independent councillor on Fingal County Council, resigned from the party yesterday having expressed grave concerns as to how the party was being run.
Mr McGuinness said the electoral returns money was paid directly to him and he spent it on leaflets and other promotional material.
"I am not interested in threats the party might want to make. I don't think they are as naive as to think they can get it back," he said.
Party leader Micheál Martin has been under sustained pressure in recent weeks after a succession of stagnant opinion poll ratings and last week saw another of his councillors, Paddy McKee, defect to Renua.
Mr Martin was campaigning in Kilkenny with candidate Bobby Aylward yesterday where he said it was "early days" and a "crowded field".
"Obviously, we're disappointed Paddy left but we have to stay with the campaign," he said.
Mr McGuinness, who had hinted at leaving the party in the wake of him not securing the nomination to stand in the General Election, said Fianna Fáil had "done nothing to rebuild the trust of the people".
He was defeated by Jack Chambers to the nomination.
"As a local representative, I have always sought to represent my community and my country in a manner of politics that has been lacking in our political parties. My efforts within Fianna Fáil have failed and I will now continue to fight for the people I represent as an Independent Dublin West public representative," Mr McGuinness said.
He was the party's candidate in the Dublin West by-election in late 2011 to fill the seat vacated by Brian Lenihan's death, where he came second.
Mr McGuinness has repeatedly criticised the failure of the party to recover in Dublin.
"They are no longer the vehicle for changing society for the better," he said.