independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

FF founder's grandson sets up Sinn Fein switch after losing seat

Chris Andrews: name going before Sinn Fein executive

A FORMER Fianna Fail minister says there will be no bad feeling with his nephew who is set to join Sinn Fein.

But David Andrews says he won't vote for Sinn Fein even as his nephew Chris, himself a former TD, gets ready to join Gerry Adams's party.

David Andrews helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement as Foreign Minister but says he can't support Mr Adams and "his ilk".

Sources close to Chris Andrews (49), a former Fianna Fail TD for Dublin South-East, say he is preparing to run in the local elections in the Ringsend area in the capital's south inner city.

He has previously said he wants to run in the next general election and the move would tee him up to do so for Sinn Fein and not Fianna Fail – the party his grandfather Todd Andrews helped found.

Although he did not return calls last night, Chris Andrews's name will go before Sinn Fein's national executive – the Ard Chomhairle – for ratification this weekend.

This is only done when former members of other parties want to join Sinn Fein, and at least one other person besides Mr Andrews and from a different party background has also applied for membership.

Sinn Fein sources said the second person is a councillor but is not as prominent as the former Fianna Fail deputy.

However, a Sinn Fein spokesman could not confirm either Mr Andrews's application or any other name to go to tomorrow's meeting.

"I can't confirm that," the spokesman said. "There are a number of names going to the Ard Chomhairle."

David Andrews – whose son Barry was also a Fianna Fail TD and junior minister – said he had been told by Chris of his intentions.

"He indicated to me he may be joining Sinn Fein," the former Dun Laoghaire TD said. "If Chris joined Sinn Fein, then so be it but I won't be supporting Mr Adams and his ilk."

However, he said there would be no ill-will and pointed out that he and his brother, Chris's father Niall, also a Fianna Fail TD and MEP, remained best friends even though they were on opposing sides of the pro- and anti-Charlie Haughey sides of the party.

'BLOOD'

"He is blood after all," David Andrews said of his nephew.

Chris Andrews, who is also a cousin of RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy, is a strong supporter of Palestine, and another source said: "The Palestinian stuff he's been doing has been mostly with the Shinners and I think they fell in love then."

His relationship with Fianna Fail soured after he created a phantom Twitter account last year to criticise leader Micheal Martin and other senior figures.

Mr Andrews was unveiled as the phantom tweeter by Eddy Carroll, the husband of senior party figure Kathryn Byrne. He had sent over 300 tweets which were highly critical of a number of figures within Fianna Fail.

Mr Carroll used photo and video surveillance to unmask Mr Andrews, who went to ground afterwards.

Irish Independent

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